Thunderbirds Lose to Walk-Off Grand Slam

Title: Thunderbirds Lose to Walk-Off Grand Slam
Date: February 21, 2013
Original Source: UBC Thunderbirds
Synopsis: This was a game report from the Men’s Baseball game between UBC and Westmont on Feb. 21.

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds took a hard early-season lesson from Westmont College on Thursday afternoon, being reminded that no lead is safe in baseball, however late in the game.

BOX SCORE

When UBC took a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning, one off an unearned run and another on a successful suicide bunt by Sebastian Wong (Abbotsford, BC), the Thunderbirds looked to be in control. Heading into the ninth with that same lead, they turned the game over to Bryan Pawlina (Courtenay, BC). It seemed a safe move, as Pawlina came in with just a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings so far in 2013.

Pawlina quickly walked a pair of batters on just nine pitches, forcing head coach Terry McKaigto go deeper into his bullpen and call on Tavis Bruce (Ilderton, ON). Bruce had thrown a pair of shutout innings so far this year, so the lead still didn’t look to be in dire straits.

However, Bruce hit David Gabel with a 2-0 pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Falling behind 2-1 to Thomas Hocutt, Bruce surrendered a walk-off grand slam home run.

Westmont wins, 7-5.

It was an exciting game with a thunderous finish, but is a disappointment for the Thunderbirds, who came in having won four of five games. The loss drops them back to 5-5 on the year and 4-2 on their current week-long trip through California.

The late collapse spoiled a solid outing from starting pitcher Alex Graham (North Vancouver, BC), who allowed two runs, just one earned, over five innings with four strikeouts. Alex Webb(Surrey, BC) struggled with his command a bit but managed to provide three innings with just a single unearned run crossing the plate.

The Thunderbirds also received multi-hit games from Greg Densem (Toronto, ON) andJeremy Kral (Prince George, BC) with two a piece, with Kral, Jerod Bartnik (Surrey, BC) andTyson Popoff (Richmond, BC) all reaching base three times thanks to some strong plate discipline.

Unfortunately, UBC hit just 3-for-19 with runners on base, failing to capitalize on multiple opportunities. UBC also failed to produce a single extra-base hit, exacerbating the issue of cashing runners in by failing to move their 16 runners more than a base at a time. These are unfamiliar issues for UBC, who came in hitting .336 as a team with runners on base and having averaged 2.5 extra-base hits per game.

The Thunderbirds will look to rebound on Friday at 2 p.m. when the two teams square off in Santa Barbara again.

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