Winning is becoming a familiar thing in the Ottawa Titans clubhouse, and after a 3-1 win over the Empire State Greys on Friday night, they have pushed their season-high win streak to eight games. For the second time in as many starts at home, Chris Burica was dominant on the bump, tossing eight and a third innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits, striking out seven, and walking two.
“It was a good day,” Burica said. “I had my stuff working and it was nice to go out there and execute a couple of pitches and get on a roll.”
This season, Titans’ manager Bobby Brown has been confident in his pitching staff, knowing that more often than not, his starter will give his team a chance to win. With Burica in particular, that feeling is strong, and he has been proven right a handful of times already this season.
“Burica just competes every time he’s out there,” Brown said. “You know he’s going to give you a chance to win the game, and we’re glad he’s on our side.”
Burica’s battery partner Tyrus Greene had a great night with a bat in his hands, finishing the night with three hits and an RBI, but when asked what made the night so successful for him, he shouted out his pitcher, completely ignoring his own personal accomplishments.
“Our starting pitching has been huge,” Greene said. “Our guys can throw strikes, and they are getting through six, seven, even eight innings.”
“These guys are easy to work with. Sometimes you have guys that can only throw one of two pitches for strikes, but all of the starters are throwing their whole repertoire for strikes. It makes it really easy to call the game when you can call anything at any time.”
“[Burica] works fast, and I love working with guys who work fast,” Greene continued. “It’s definitely a brisk game when he throws. It’s what our team feeds on. Quick innings on defence and then get back into the hitting.”
When Greene did finally allow himself to talk about his own game, he mentioned that for him, it’s a process. He’s always looking to get better, and it’s starting to pay off.
“Historically, it takes me a little while to get going,” Greene said. “That’s just the case for some guys. I’ve been seeing pitches, and I’m kind of an adjustment hitter. I change things up a lot. It’s just a feel thing, and it’s just something that is working right now.”
Now with eight wins in a row, and with seven of them coming away from home, the Titans sit towards the top of the Frontier League standings. That’s good for the team in the locker room, and Burica says that life is good right now.
“The team is really gelling as a whole,” Burica said. “There’s really good team chemistry going on right now, and it’s fun playing baseball with these guys.”
But it’s not all good news for the Titans. Early in the game, Clay Fisher drove a ball into the left-field gap, but never left the batter’s box, falling down and leaving the game. There’s no update on his status yet, but it didn’t look good.
“It’s a little bittersweet with Fisher getting hurt,” Brown said. “The team is playing good, the morale is great, everyone is doing their job, and it’s a lot of fun.”
With two more games to come this weekend against the now 0-24 Greys, Brown isn’t counting his chickens before they hatch.
“They are going to win some games,” Brown said. “You can’t take anything for granted.”
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