Clay Caulfield struck out 14 Hamilton batters and saw his teammates scored seven times in the bottom of the fifth as the Maple Leafs defeat the Cardinals 9-3 in Intercounty Baseball League action on Canada Day from Christie Pits in Toronto.
The loss drops Hamilton’s record to 5-18, three and a half games out of the final playoff spot held by the Burlington Twins with 13 games remaining in the regular season. Toronto brings their record to a game below .500 at 11-12, nine games out of first place.
Hamilton opened the scoring in the top of the first. Matt McGraw reached base on a fielder’s choice and then scored on Dan Jagdeo’s sixth home run of the season to take a 2-0 lead through a half inning of play. The two RBIs gave Jagdeo 20 on the year.
In the bottom of the second, Aaron Guinn drew a two out walk. Guinn would steal second base and advance to third as catcher Matt Fortuna’s throw went into centre field. Tyler Fata would also draw a walk with the fourth pitch getting by Fortuna to allow Guinn to score and make it 2-1. The Cardinals would get that run back in the top of the fourth as Jagdeo led off with a double and scored on Justin Malabanan’s single.
The wheels then fell off for Hamilton as Toronto sent ten batters to the plate in the fifth inning. Tyler Fata walked and stole second base to open the inning. Glenn Jackson would then single to cash Fata. Jackson then moved to third as Nino Fasulo’s pickoff attempt went down the first base line. Branfy Arias would join Jackson on base after being hit by a pitch. Jordan Castaldo followed up with an RBI single to tie the game at three. Will Richards doubled and Dan Marra singled in a run each before the Cardinals could get the first out of the inning.
Damon Topolie would ground out for the first out of fifth inning but brought in the eventual game winning run. Guinn would finish off the scoring for the Maple Leafs in the fifth with a two-run home run to make it 9-3 in favour of Toronto.
For Hamilton, Nino Fasulo started and took the loss going four innings allowing six runs, four of them earned, on five hits, walking four, hitting one batter, striking out two, throwing two wild pitches and committing a balk. Matt Betts took over for Fasulo in the fifth, allowing three runs, one of which was earned, on five hits and striking out one. Zach Pearson pitched the final two innings for the Cardinals allowing three hits while walking one and striking out two.
For Toronto, Caulfield pitched eight strong innings for the win allowing three earned runs on six hits striking out 14 batters and throwing a wild pitch. Lucas Kawa got the final three outs of the game for the Maple Leafs.
Hamilton will now travel to Brantford to try and end their three game losing streak and the 12-game winning streak of the league leading Red Sox on Wednesday night starting at 8:00 PM.
* courtesy Hamilton Cardinals Baseball Club