Home-run-happy Mariners win two games

The VIBI Mariners are knocking the cover off the ball these days, and it’s helping them win games.

Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute won two of four Canadian College Baseball Conference games in Kamloops on the weekend while out-hitting the opposition in all four games.

VIBI started with a 6-5 loss to the Okanagan Coyotes and a 5-1 win over Thompson Rivers on Saturday. On Sunday the M’s lost 6-3 to TRU but finished with a 7-2 win over Okie.

“There’s a good flow in our offensive lineup right now,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager. “Guys are feeding off each other and that’s great to see.”

The M’s homered in every game of the weekend, with Cody Andreychuk going yard three times and Thomas Bidzinski also hitting one out.

"Guys are figuring things out and getting the barrel there when they need to have it there and there's been some good results because of that," Blundell said. "It's discipline, it's approach, it's swinging at the right pitches."

One area of concern from the weekend was a few too many walks issued by VIBI's pitching staff.

"We'll try and get back to the drawing board and try and get guys to maybe challenge the strike zone a little bit more and not be afraid to give up contact," Blundell said.

In the first game of the weekend, Andreychuk had three RBIs to go with his homer. Liam Goodall had three hits; Bidzinski had two. Jorhn Kaluzniak took the loss, allowing four hits and two earned runs over 4 2/3 innings.

The second contest Andreychuk had a home run and two RBIs but the game might have been most notable for a standout pitching performance from Connor Russell. He gave up just one hit, to the first batter he faced, then didn’t give TRU anything else, allowing no earned runs while striking out 11 over seven innings. Blake Robson had a single, a triple and an RBI in that game and Bidzinski had two hits and an RBI.

Cody Chartrand was the losing pitcher in Sunday's first game, giving up three hits over five innings. Bidzinski's homer led the attack.

Matt Davis earned the ‘W’ on the mound in the weekend finale. Andreychuk had a single and double to go with his home run and Goodall and Jeremy Harasymchuk had two hits apiece.

GAME ON … The VIBI Mariners play back-to-back doubleheaders against the Okanagan Coyotes on Saturday and Sunday (April 21-22) at Serauxmen Stadium. Saturday's game times are 2:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. and Sunday's games go at noon and 3 p.m.

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