March 29, 2013
FINDLAY, Ohio - The Grand Valley State baseball team got a pair of stellar pitching performances on Friday (Mar. 29) in a sweep of Findlay, as the Lakers took game one by a 3-0 score and got the offense in going for game two in a 9-1 victory.
With the pair of victories, GVSU is now 12-8 on the season with a 6-1 record in the GLIAC, while Findlay falls to 8-9 overall and 3-5 in the conference.
While the pitching rolled, the offense was busy pushing runs across with some small ball techniques. The scoring opened in the top of the second when the Lakers took a 1-0 lead without the aid of a hit. Sophomore Jamie Potts walked, and after two quick outs, one of which put Potts on second, a pair of walks loaded the bases and sophomore Mike Nadratowski wore a hit by pitch that brought in the first run of the game.
A run by the way of hits came across the plate for the Lakers in the top of the sixth. Senior Stephen Claypool led off the frame with a double to center field and moved to third on a fly out. Sophomore Jesse Abel then continued his hot streak, and foreshadowed things to come later in the day, by hitting an RBI single in to left field to make it a 2-0 game.
GVSU added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with some more small ball. Senior Chris Rudenga was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, then moved to second on a single by sophomore Kevin Zak. After a walk by junior Giancarlo Brugnoni loaded the bases, Potts grounded in to a double play, but it was enough to bring in the third run of the game and make it a 3-0 advantage for the Lakers.
Findlay led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, but then came in senior Brad Zambron for the Lakers, who proceeded to shut the game down with two strikeouts and a groundout to clinch his fifth save of the year and 31st of his career. Zambron now sits only one save behind the NCAA Division II career record for saves.
Senior Kyle Teague (3-0) earned the victory on the mound, working six innings, allowing only three hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
The only Laker with multiple hits was Rudenga, who finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored. Abel went 1-for-1 with an RBI and a walk, while also stealing his first base of the season.
GVSU found themselves trailing early in the nightcap, as Findlay pushed a run across in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single, but it would be all Lakers from there.
The Lakers tied the game in the top of the fourth after Rudenga and Zak singled to lead off the frame, putting runners on the corners for Brugnoni, who lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at one.
Two more singles loaded the bases with one out and another sacrifice fly put the Lakers out front, this time off the bat of junior Taylor Banks.
GVSU started pouring it on after that, beginning with the top of the fifth. Three straight singles brought in Nadratowski for a 3-1 lead, the third single coming off the bat of Zak. Potts then drove in another run on a fielder's choice, and a sacrifice bunt by Claypool made it 5-1. Banks capped off the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single through the left side of the infield that scored Potts. GVSU led 6-1 after five complete innings.
The dagger from GVSU then came in the top of the seventh, when Abel hit his first home run as a Laker, a three-run shot that put the game away at 9-1.
The offense in the game was led by Abel's performance, in which he finished 2-for-3 with one run, three RBI, a walk and a homer. Zak and Potts each went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Rudenga was 2-for-4 with two runs and Nadratowski was 2-for-4 with one run. Claypool also finished with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI, while Banks went 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Freshman Patrick Kelly (2-2) had a strong performance on the mound, going six innings, allowing five hits and one run with eight strikeouts, a season-high for Laker pitchers. Freshman Skylar Hoke pitched a perfect last inning of relief with one strikeout.
The Lakers and Oilers will finish out the three-game series with a nine-inning contest on Saturday (Mar. 30) slated to begin at noon.