March 30, 2013
FINDLAY, Ohio - Some history was matched on Saturday (Mar. 30) afternoon, as Grand Valley State senior pitcher Brad Zambron picked up his sixth save of the season, the 32nd of his career, and tied the NCAA Division II career record for saves in the process, helping the Lakers to a 4-2 victory. The win completed a three-game sweep of Findlay over the weekend.
GVSU is now 13-8 on the season with a 7-1 record in the GLIAC and has a season-high four-game winning streak. The Lakers have now won seven of their last eight games. Findlay falls to 9-11 overall with a 3-6 mark in the conference.
Early on, it looked like there would be a shootout on hand after both teams scored in the first inning. For the Lakers, it started with a double by senior Chris Rudenga with one out. A walk, wild pitch, walk and passed ball later, Rudenga was crossing the plate for a 1-0 lead.
Findlay responded against true freshman Russell Griffin on the mound, getting a one-out single and an RBI double in consecutive hitters to tie the game at one, but Griffin would buckle down from there and not allow another run.
Meanwhile, the Lakers took the lead back in the top of the second with two more runs. Sophomore Jesse Abel again came up big, hitting a one-out double in to center field and moving to third on a bunt single by junior Stuart Eisler. After a two-out walk loaded the bases, sophomore Kevin Zak hit a ball towards short that was misplayed and allowed both Abel and Eisler to score, giving GVSU a 3-1 lead.
It took until the bottom of the seventh for another run to get scratched across the plate, but it was from the Oilers as they cut the Laker lead in half on consecutive doubles to make it 3-2.
Again, however, GVSU responded in the next half-inning. Senior Stephen Claypool got a one-out single through the left side and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a pitching change, junior Taylor Banks walked and then a fielder's choice allowed Claypool to move to third. Eisler then singled back up the middle to bring home Claypool, giving the Lakers an insurance run at 4-2.
Zambron came on in the bottom of the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 inning, then came back out in the ninth and after striking out the first hitter, gave up a one-out double, but then got a swinging strike out and a fly out to nail down the 4-2 victory and earn the record-tying save.
GVSU had only six hits on the day, five of which came from the bottom half of the lineup. Claypool and Eisler each went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Eisler also added an RBI and stole his first base of the year. Abel finished 1-for-3 with a run, walk and his first double of the season.
Though he didn't get the win, Griffin was able to hold put together a solid three innings of work, allowing three hits and one run with one strikeout. Junior Chris Ward (2-0) earned the victory in relief, working four innings in the middle of the game, allowing four hits and one run with five strikeouts.
Zambron's sixth save of the season and 32nd of his career came with a final line of two innings, one hit allowed and two strikeouts.
The Lakers will hopefully open up the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday (Apr. 2) with a doubleheader against Tiffin slated to begin at 1 p.m. The third game of the series, a nine-inning contest, will take place on Wednesday (Apr. 3) at noon. All games will be played at the Laker Baseball Field.