by Sam Aucoin

BARRIE — Good teams find ways to get big wins in big situations and that is exactly what the Barrie Baycats did today, beating the Hamilton Cardinals 12-6. Down 5-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Barrie exploded for eight runs to take the lead and they never looked back.

Both starting pitchers helped to keep the game close. Jeifry Nunez, today’s winning pitcher, battled through seven innings on the mound, setting it up for his offense to take advantage. After Nunez, Christian Mullen came in and tossed two innings, wrapping up the game. Alex Lanigan was charged with the loss after working just an inning and a third.

The main story of today’s win was the late-inning offense. Chipping away all afternoon, the turning point came with an eight-run seventh inning, and who else but Ryan Rijo was right in the middle of it. Rijo hit a big base hit that cleared the bases, scoring three runs. Run-scoring hits from Carson Burns and Canice Ejoh extended the lead.

"He came back with another [fastball] – and I was able to get some barrel on it," said Rijo. Ryan also wanted to make sure the Baycats media team and fans knew that he stole a base in the game. Joking around, he said he is now the "Speed King."

"We were just fighting to stay in it," said Baycats Manager and GM Josh Matlow. "I didn’t think it would take seven innings to happen, but better late than never." He also credits the Cardinals for being a "scrappy team" and making it hard on Barrie. There is definitely some respect between these two clubs in this very entertaining series.

Baycats outfielder/infielder Starlin Rodriguez had to be removed from the game with a pulled groin and will likely be out for the season. When speaking with Matlow after the game, he said that the team will "look at [its] options (internally)" to see who will take on Starlin’s role for the rest of the playoffs.

NEXT UP: Game four of this series is Tuesday night in Hamilton as the Baycats will look to close out the series. Game time is 7:35 p.m. You can get tickets here or tune in to Rogers TV Barrie or Cable 14.