It was a pitching duel early on Saturday night but some clutch hitting by the Ottawa Champions would steal the show at RCGT Park and give the club a 6-4 victory over the Trois-Rivieres Aigles.
With the Aigles up by one in the eighth inning, Danny Grauer and Adron Chambers came up huge driving in three runs to seal the victory for Ottawa.
Champions’ starter Yean Carlos Gil and Aigles’ starter Chris Murphy were outstanding in the early going of the ballgame.
Gil threw 121 pitches while recording 10 strikeouts and allowing two runs. Murphy also allowed two runs while registering three punch outs on the day. Neither starting pitcher received a decision.
After getting heavily outscored in the first two games of the series, the Aigles were the first team to get on the board. Brenden Webb led off the top of the third with a solo shot just over the right field wall. It was the first home run for Trois-Rivieres this season.
Tempers would flare in the top of the fourth, as two members of the Aigles were ejected.
During a Zach Mathieu at-bat, Aigles’ manager TJ Stanton was thrown out after arguing with home plate umpire Kevin Mandzuk. In the same at-bat, Mathieu struck out and after arguing the call he was also ejected.
Ottawa connected in the next half inning with a Gustavo Pierre RBI single to left field scoring Sebastien Boucher. It was 1-1 after four innings.
Gil pitched out of a massive jam in the top of the fifth. With the bases-loaded and one out, he struck out Javier Herrera and then got Daniel Mateo to hit into an inning-ending groundball out.
Ottawa’s Steve Brown came into score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game 2-2. In the following inning Chambers continued his hot start to the season as he ripped a double into the gap in left field. Daniel Bick scored the go-ahead run giving the Champions a 3-2 lead.
However, the Aigles answered right back to take a 4-3 lead. Three straight base runners reached to start the inning loading the bases against relief pitcher James Mulry. Things looked promising as Mulry got a strikeout, however an RBI grounder from Ryan Brockett and a wild pitch allowed two to score.
The theme of the series has been how the Champions have responded after giving up runs. In the bottom of the eighth, Grauer did just that as he drove in two runs with a double over the head of left fielder Trevor Gretzky. Chambers drove in another run that inning which increased the lead to 6-4 and completing the comeback.
Victor Beriguete had trouble picking up the save but he managed to get the job done to earn his first save of the season. Mulry (1-0) picked up his first win in relief.
Ottawa (3-0) and Trois-Rivieres (0-3) will square off again Sunday afternoon, first pitch is at 1:35 p.m.
In other Can-AM League action, the New Jersey Jackals defeated the Quebec Capitales, 7-5 and the Rockland Boulders bounced the Sussex County Miners, 12-3.