March 23, 2013
CANTON, Ohio - The Grand Valley State baseball team was finally able to get back on the diamond on Saturday (Mar. 23), opening conference play with a doubleheader sweep of GLIAC newcomer Malone. GVSU got a gem of a pitching performance in game one, winning a 1-0 pitcher's duel, then put together a 10-1 victory in the nightcap.
The Lakers move to 8-7 on the year with a 2-0 mark in GLIAC play after the sweep, while Malone falls to 7-8 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
In the opener, the Lakers were only able to muster two hits, but they made them count. While GVSU had been the ones plagued with unearned runs early this year, this was a game in which the favor was finally on the other end.
In the top of the sixth, with the game still scoreless, sophomore Kevin Zak walked and sophomore Giancarlo Brugnoni was then hit by a pitch. A passed ball then moved both runners in to scoring position. Sophomore Jamie Potts hit a ground ball to second base, allowing Zak to score the unearned run. The next two hitters popped up in the infield to end the inning.
Senior Kyle Teague, the starter on the mound, allowed only one runner past second base in the game and that was in the first. Malone led the bottom of the first off with a single, then a one-out walk put two on. After a ground ball moved both runners up, Teague struck out the next hitter to end the early threat. That was as close as Malone would get in the rest of the contest.
Teague (2-0) earned the victory, working 6.1 innings, allowing five hits and three walks, while striking out five. Senior Brad Zambron picked up his third save of the year by retiring the last two batters of the game, the first on strikeout and the last on a fly ball to center.
The only two hits of the game came from Zak, who was 1-for-2 with a run scored, and junior Taylor Banks, who finished 1-for-3. Potts had the lone RBI in the game. One other accomplishment of note was that sophomore Mike Nadratowski was 0-for-1 and was hit by three pitches, tying a single-game GVSU record.
In the nightcap, it was all Lakers right from the start. Nadratowski reached on an error and seemingly opened the flood gates. Senior Chris Rudenga then singled back to the pitcher and Zak brought the first run in with a single down the left field line. After a wild pitch moved both runners in to scoring position, Brugnoni singled in to left field to make it a 2-0 game. Brugnoni then stole second, his second stolen base of the year, and Potts came to the plate, lifting a sacrifice fly in to right field to score Zak. The final run of the inning came off the bat of Banks, who singled through the left side of the infield to score Brugnoni and make it a 4-0 game.
GVSU added another run in the top of the second. A one-out bunt single by Nadratowski, then a stolen base and an RBI double by Zak made it 5-0.
Malone put up their first run of the day in the bottom of the third with a lead-off single, balk, and RBI single in to center, cutting the lead to 5-1.
The Lakers put up another four-spot in the top of the sixth to effectively put the game in the way. Rudenga drew a one-out walk, then a hit by pitch, wild pitch and Brugnoni walk loaded the bases with one out. Another wild pitch brought in the sixth run of the game and a walk to Potts loaded the bases back up. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Stephen Claypool scored Zak and a double down the left field line by Banks brought two more in to make it a 9-1 margin.
The final run of the game was brought in on an RBI double by junior Ariel Aracena-Sanchez in the top of the seventh, scoring sophomore Matthew Schuch, who had tripled to lead off the inning. GVSU would easily hold on in the bottom of the inning, taking game two by a score of 10-1.
Freshman Patrick Kelly (1-2) earned his first collegiate victory, working six innings, allowing six hits and one run with three strikeouts. Freshman Russell Griffin threw a shutout inning of relief to finish the game, striking out two.
The offense was led by Zak, who went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI, including his fourth double of the year, and Banks, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Rudenga finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored, while Nadratowski was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and his fifth stolen base of the year. Brugnoni, Aracena-Sanchez, Potts and Claypool all had one RBI each.
The third and final game of the series is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday (Mar. 24).