March 7, 2013
AUBURNDALE, Fla. - For the second straight game, the 15th-ranked Grand Valley State baseball team had a comeback fall painstakingly short, as the Lakers dropped a 5-4 decision to Wayne State (Neb.) on Thursday (Mar. 7) afternoon at Lake Myrtle Stadium.
The loss drops GVSU to 3-2 on the year, while Wayne State improves to 6-5 on the season.
The Lakers threatened in a big way early, getting a clean inning from the defense in the top of the first, then loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the first off three straight singles. Unfortunately, a strikeout, force out at home and a fly ball that fell just in front of the left field fence ended the inning.
Wayne State took advantage in the top of the second, getting a lead-off triple and then an RBI groundout to take an early 1-0 lead.
The score held at 1-0 until the top of the sixth, when a hit by pitch, wild pitch, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly pushed the second run of the game across the plate.
Wayne State kept adding runs in the top of the seventh, getting a lead-off single and a one-out RBI double to go up 3-0. A two-out RBI single a couple batters later made it 4-0.
The Laker offense got started in the bottom of the seventh, getting a lead-off walk from senior Stephen Claypool and consecutive singles by sophomores Jamie Potts and Mike Nadratowski to again load the bases with nobody out. Senior Chris Rudenga then laced an RBI single in to right field to put GVSU on the board, 4-1, and sophomore Kevin Zak hit an RBI single of his own back up the middle to cut the lead to 4-2. Junior Giancarlo Brugnoni drew a bases loaded walk to make it 4-3 with still nobody out, but two straight strikeouts and a groundout to third base ended the Laker threat.
Wayne State picked up a big insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting two straight walks to lead off the inning, a single and a ground ball double play that brought the run in from third to make it a 5-3 game.
GVSU got two singles in the bottom half of the inning, but on the second single, a strong outfield defense cut down the Laker runner on his way to third base with two outs to end the inning.
For the second straight game, a final inning rally was in the works for the Lakers. Zak led off the bottom of the ninth with a single through the left side of the infield, then moved to second on a balk. Brugnoni then came up clutch again, lacing an RBI double down the left field line to trade places with Zak and make it a 5-4 game with nobody out. A flyout, groundout and infield pop-up was all that was needed to close the game out for Wayne State, though.
Freshman Patrick Kelly took the hard loss on the mound for the Lakers, going 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and four runs with two strikeouts in his first collegiate start.
Rudenga paced the offense, tying a career-high with four hits, going 4-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Zak was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, while Brugnoni continued his hot hitting by going 2-for-4 with two RBI, a walk and his third double in five games. Claypool went 2-for-3 with a run and walk, while Potts was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Nadratowski finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and his third stolen base of the season.
GVSU will have its only day off on the trip on Friday before taking the field on Saturday (Mar. 9) for a doubleheader against Charleston (W.Va.) at 1 p.m.