KITCHENER — The Kitchener Panthers got their ace back but lost a back-and-forth battle with the hot-hitting Barrie Baycats on Sunday night at Jack Couch Park.
Marcos Reyna, making his first start in almost a month, showed a bit of rust early on, allowing four runs on three hits and striking out two. Earlier this week, the American said he was trying to ease himself back into pitching and wouldn't be throwing at full throttle after shoulder soreness kept him from starting since June 16.
Now sitting at 16-14 on the season, the fourth-place Panthers head to London on Tuesday night to take on the third-place Majors. Mike McGillivray, with two wins in his last three starts, will take the mound for the Panthers.
It's a big week for Kitchener, with two games against a team they're trailing in the standings - London - and two against a team chasing them in the standings, Hamilton. They'll get a rematch in London Friday night and host Hamilton at Jack Couch Park Thursday and Sunday.
Last Sunday night, Reyna made it into the fifth with a 4-2 lead, but walked Jason Coker, who scored on a single by Ryan Asis. Asis stole second and third and Reyna walked Ryan Spataro - and then was pulled from the game after reaching his lowered pitch count.
Shawn Hancock was brought in to replace him and retired Kyle DeGrace, but not before he drove in a game-tying RBI groundout to score Asis.
The Panthers had held the lead since the bottom of the first, and padded that in the fourth with a RBI single by Bryon Bell that drove in Mat Taube. Kitchener retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a walk to Taube and a sacrifice fly by Rick Murray, then coughed it up again in the sixth.
Matt Robertson came on in the eighth and gave up a solo home run to Jason Coker.
Down 8-6 in the ninth, Bell came in to pitch for the Panthers hoping to shut down the BayCats, but Barrie pounded out three more runs to take a 11-6 lead. Bell had a chance to make it close again with his bat in the bottom of the ninth, but with runners at the corners he hit into a double play.
Jeff Pietraszko was once again an offensive strength for the Panthers, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs.
The Baycats also made the Panthers pay for their inability to stop the running game, and swiped 10 bases on the night.
The Panthers had better luck on Saturday, when they schooled the hapless Guelph Royals 5-0. Guelph starter Matt Atkins had a good outing, giving up just two earned runs on five hits in seven innings, but the Royals bats went silent, managing to get just one runner as far as third base.
The Royals could only muster three hits – a double and two singles - against the Panthers.
Kitchener's Matt McGovern was dominant and picked up the win, allowing three hits, no runs and striking out 10. Piatraszko and Mike Andrulis each had a pair of hits for the Panthers, while Mitch Delaney hit a home run.