March 25, 2012
Allendale, Mich. - The #10 Grand Valley State baseball team completed a four-game set with GLIAC foe Lake Erie on Sunday (Mar. 25) in a pair of extra inning losses at the Laker Baseball Field. Lake Erie took game one 4-2 in eight innings and despite a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh of game two for the Lakers, the Storm took the nightcap by an 8-6 score.
In game one, it appeared a pitcher's duel was in store as the game was tied at one going to the sixth inning. However, errors would be a common theme throughout the day for GVSU and two of them in the top of the sixth inning would bring in a Storm run to make it a 2-1 game.
In the bottom of the frame, the Lakers dug down and tied the game up with a one-out RBI single from senior Jared Cowan that scored sophomore Giancarlo Brugnoni, who walked to lead off the inning. With the game tied at two, the teams went to extra innings but it only took one extra frame to settle things.
In the top of the eighth, the Storm singled to lead off the inning and sacrificed the runner to second. That's when errors started deciding the game. With one out, junior Brad Zambron appeared to get out number two on a strikeout in the dirt, but the throw down to first base to complete the out went in to the right field corner, allowing the runner on second to score and the batter to go all the way to third base. An RBI single to center field with two out then made it a 4-2 game in favor of Lake Erie.
The Lakers were able to put Brugnoni and Cowan on with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but an infield pop-up ended the inning.
Zambron (0-1) took the loss, throwing 2.1 innings and allowing only two hits and no earned runs with three strikeouts. The starter, senior Cory Baker, threw 5.2 innings, allowing only four hits while striking out four. He surrendered only one earned run, the first earned run of the season on his record.
Offensively, Cowan was the only Laker with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Freshmen Kevin Zak and Mike Nadratowski each had one hit and Brugnoni coaxed three walks and scored a run.
Kyle Kemp and Aaron Lindgren each went 1-for-4 with an RBI for the Storm with Pat Kilway going 2-for-3 and Brayan Cacique scoring two runs.
Game two didn't look too much better for the Lakers in the early-going. The Storm put up one run in the second and two runs in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead halfway through the nightcap.
The Lakers appeared to get some momentum back in the bottom of the fifth as Brugnoni hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot over the right field fence to cut the lead to 4-1. However, the Storm countered with a longball of their own as Lindgren smacked a two-run homer to extend the lead to 6-1. It was the first home run of the season for Lake Erie.
In the bottom of the sixth, junior Stephen Claypool doubled to lead off the frame, foreshadowing some heroics to come. He was followed with a single by senior Zach Laupp to put runners at first and third. Zak then hit a ground ball to the short stop that allowed Claypool to score, cutting the lead to 6-2. After Zak moved to second on a wild pitch, junior Chris Rudenga hit a slow chopper to short that bounced off the fielder's chest, allowing the ball to roll in to left field and Zak to score from second to make it a 6-3 game.
Senior Brett Gwaltney threw a scoreless inning of relief in the top of the seventh to keep the Lakers in the game going to their last three outs. Cowan led off the frame with a double to the right field gap and moved to third on a wild pitch. After freshman Mitchell Kozlowski walked, Claypool came up again and for the second straight day, he deposited a home run over the right field fence, this one to tie the game at six with one out.
Zak reached with two outs after a ground ball went under the third baseman's glove and then stole second base, but after Nadratowski walked, an infield pop-up sent the game to extras for the second time on the day.
GVSU put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth as senior Steve Anderson led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Brugnoni was intentionally walked, two straight fly ball outs ended the threat to send the game to the ninth.
Lake Erie led off the ninth with a walk and the runner moved to second on a ground ball to third. After Cacique was intentionally walked, Zambron came in for his second tour of duty on the day. The Storm executed a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out and a single to right field brought both runners in to make it an 8-6 game, despite an argument on the second run on a close play at the plate.
Gwaltney (0-1) was saddled with the loss in game two, despite throwing 2.1 innings without allowing a hit. He was charged with two runs on three walks and two strikeouts. Starter Anthony Campanella threw five innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs.
Offensively, the Lakers were led by Claypool's 3-for-5 game with two runs scored, three RBI and his second home run in as many days. Anderson and Nadratowski each went 2-for-4 in the game. Brugnoni and Zak each contributed one hit and one RBI. The Storm were led by Lindgren, who went 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, while Cody Blood went 3-for-4 with one run and two RBI.
GVSU committed seven errors between the two games and left 23 runners on base.
With the losses, GVSU falls to 11-7 on the year with a 1-3 mark in the GLIAC. The Storm move to 6-9 with a 3-1 record in the conference.
The Lakers will look to rebound with four more home games next weekend against GLIAC rival Ashland. The first doubleheader is slated to begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Mar. 31) at the Laker Baseball Field in Allendale, Mich.