Columbia athletics

Powerful pitcher fuels Birds 6-2 win

VANCOUVER — After opening their season with a long road trip, the UBC Thunderbirds returned to campus to defeat the Bushnell Beacons 6-2 in Friday’s home opener at Tourmaline West Stadium.

The T-Birds were dialed on the mound, striking out 12 batters with three pitchers, powered by Ryan Beitel who pitched six scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Graham Selzer entered the game in the top of the seventh to add a pair of strikeouts, followed by three clear final innings that saw Sam Van Snellenburg strike out three.

baseball home opener

“Ryan was exceptional in setting the tone,” said UBC head coach Chris Pritchete. “He gets better every time he throws, he’s actually a converted shortstop, so I thought he was exceptional when he got in trouble, he got tougher, which is a sign a very good pitcher.”

The Beacons were first on the scoreboard with a double from left field that led to a run to take a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning.

It didn’t take long for the T-Birds to react, because Ty Penner connected on a ball that found space on the right side to bring his teammate home and tie the game 1-1.

Through a combination of plate discipline and wild pitching, the ‘Birds exploded in the sixth inning to take a 6-1 lead. With the bases loaded, Trent Lenihan tied on walks to give the T-Birds a 2-1 lead. Following a change in pitch from the Beacons, Cameron Sanderson hit a sack fly to right field, drive in another run. After another walk, Penner’s single on the right brought two more home and Noah Or eventually capped the five-run inning with an RBI single.

baseball home opener

The rest of the game went off without a hitch for the ‘Birds, who closed out their home opener with a stellar defense.

“I think we played pretty well today,” added Pritchett. “Our defense was exceptional and we had a few hits after a few walks. More than anything, wins and losses are secondary. The fact that we are playing at home means a lot. It means that our programs are back and we are “Let’s move in the right direction again. The environment was great, lots of fans and excitement that fired up our guys. I think we played pretty well.

Game 2 of the weekend series is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PT) tomorrow afternoon.