March 16, 2013
WASHINGTON, Pa. - The Grand Valley State baseball team ran in to a squad on a roll on Saturday (Mar. 16) afternoon at Consol Energy Park, as Mercyhurst swept GVSU in a pair of 5-4 games to extend their winning streak to eight straight.
GVSU falls to 5-6 on the season, while Mercyhurst is now 12-7.
GVSU made a good impression early, putting up the first run of the game on the board in the top of the first inning. Senior Chris Rudenga hit a double, his fifth in his last six at bats, then traded places with sophomore Kevin Zak on an RBI double to center field to make it a 1-0 game.
Mercyhurst responded in a big way in the bottom of the second, capitalizing on two GVSU errors to push across four runs, three of which were unearned.
GVSU started chipping away at the lead in the top of the third, getting a lead-off walk from Rudenga, who then advanced to second on an errant throw to first on an attempted pick-off. Junior Giancarlo Brugnoni then brought him home with an RBI single back up the middle to cut the lead to 4-2.
The score drew back even in the top of the sixth for GVSU. After Brugnoni and sophomore Jamie Potts reached to begin the frame, a double play looked like it might end the rally. However, an RBI single up the middle by senior Stephen Claypool brought home Brugnoni to make it 4-3, and junior Taylor Banks drove in the equalizer with an RBI triple to score Claypool.
However, Mercyhurst stepped up when it mattered most in the bottom of the seventh inning, leading off with a single and then getting an RBI single after a sacrifice bunt. Mercyhurst would take the opener by a final score of 5-4.
The starter, senior Kyle Teague, worked 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, but only one of which was earned. Teague struck out five in the contest. Freshman Patrick Kelly (0-2) took the loss, working one inning, allowing two hits and one run.
Rudenga finished the game 1-for-3 with two runs and a walk, including his sixth double of the season. Zak, Brugnoni, Claypool and Banks each had one hit and one RBI.
Senior Brad Zambron's first career start at Grand Valley State did not begin well, as Mercyhurst put up two runs in their first set of at-bats. Mercyhurst got a one-out triple and an RBI double, followed by an RBI single to go up 2-0 early on.
Again, though, GVSU's resiliency broke through as the Lakers answered in a big way. GVSU was able to get a one-out double from Zak to put runners on the corners and then Brugnoni again got the scoring started, singling in to center to bring Rudenga in to score. Potts then followed, putting the ball in play to the pitcher, who threw the ball away at second attempting to retire Brugnoni and allowed Zak to score to tie the game at two.
GVSU took the lead just a couple batters later as junior Stuart Eisler hit a two-out RBI single back up the middle to score Brugnoni and give GVSU the 3-2 lead. The bases would be left loaded, however, as a strikeout ended the inning.
Mercyhurst would even the game up at three in the top of the third, getting a lead-off double and two groundouts in a row that advanced the runner in to score.
GVSU was able to respond and take the lead back in the bottom half of the inning, using a lead-off double from Brugnoni and a two-out RBI triple from Eisler to make it a 4-3 contest after three innings of play.
An error wiped out the lead in the top of the fourth, as a two-out single turned in to a run after a wild pitch and an error during the next at-bat to tie the game at four.
Errors plagued GVSU again in the top of the sixth, as a one-out error turned in to a run when a groundout, that would have been out number three, moved runners up to second and third. During the next at-bat, a wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score as Mercyhurst took a 5-4 lead.
GVSU would not be able to threaten the rest of the game, falling a second consecutive game by a score of 5-4.
Zambron (0-2) took the loss on the mound, working six innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs with three strikeouts. The offense was led by Eisler, who finished 3-for-3 with two RBI, including his second triple. Brugnoni was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
The Lakers will now prepare for a doubleheader in the same park on Sunday (Mar. 17) at 11 a.m. GVSU will take on California (Pa.).