by Sam Aucoin

HAMILTON – This series is all even at one as the Hamilton Cardinals defeat the Barrie Baycats 5-1 on Friday night. Barrie’s pitching kept their team in the game but Hamilton’s was a bit better, sending the two teams into game three.

This game had quite the pitchers dual with Juan Benítez for Barrie and Corben Peters for Hamilton. Benítez had a really nice bounce-back start from his previous two outings. The right-hander tossed six and a third innings and even though he gave up five runs, he limited the damage in almost every inning. Juan ended up surrendering the loss and had to be removed from the game in the seventh inning with a knee injury.

Peters was just as good if not better, shutting down the Baycats' lineup, giving up one earned run on five hits. Mostly coming out of the bullpen for Hamilton this season, Corben pitched eight innings tonight picking up the win. IBL veteran Stefan Strecker notched his first save of the 2023 playoffs in a three-up, three-down ninth inning.

The loan Baycats run came on a Starlin Rodriguez RBI single in the sixth inning. Rodriguez ended the night with a pair of hits. The Cardinals' offense was kickstarted by a Laine Renaud solo home run. After that, four run-scoring singles slowly added to the lead.

Evan Soules was able to keep things close in his second career IBL playoff appearance, striking out a batter in a scoreless eighth inning. In the end, the Baycats came up short as the series is now tied at one.

NEXT UP: Game three of this first-round series goes tomorrow afternoon from Vintage Throne Stadium. Game time is set for 4:05 p.m. Get your tickets here. The game will be available live on Baycats TV and Rogers TV Barrie.