April 27, 2013
ALLENDALE, Mich. - The Grand Valley State baseball team split a doubleheader with #16 Ashland on Saturday (Apr. 27), dropping game one, 1-0, before turning on the offense in a 10-5 victory in the nightcap.
GVSU is now 23-13 overall with a 17-6 record in the conference, while Ashland is 28-14 overall with a 16-10 record in the GLIAC. Coming in to the day, Ashland was the top ranked team in the NCAA Division II Midwest regional rankings.
In the opener, it was the Kyle Teague show early on, as the senior struck out six of the first eight batters that came to the plate for the Eagles.
Unfortunately, Jake Baldwin on the other side of the diamond was doing just as well, holding the Lakers at bay despite Teague's dominance.
Ashland finally broke through in the top of the fourth, putting together a two-out rally. A single, wild pitch, walk, another wild pitch and a single back up the middle brought in the first and only run of the game.
The Lakers put together a rally in the bottom of the seventh in their last at-bats. Senior Chris Rudenga singled on a slow roller to short to begin the frame, then moved to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, sophomore Jamie Potts lined a ball to the shortstop and Rudenga barely got back to the bag to keep the Lakers alive. With two outs, sophomore Jesse Abel hit a 3-2 pitch in to shallow center field and Rudenga, running on contact, came down the third base line and appeared to get in under the tag of Ashland catcher John Broll, but was called out to end the game and hand the Eagles the 1-0 victory.
Teague (5-1) took the hard-luck loss on the mound, working all seven innings, allowing five hits and one run to go with eight strikeouts, a season-high for Teague. Rudenga, Potts, Abel and junior Stuart Eisler were the only Lakers to tally hits in the game.
The nightcap was a stark contrast to the opener, as the scoring started early and happened often.
After Ashland put up a single run in the top of the first, the Lakers responded in a big way in the bottom of the first, putting up their first of three multi-run innings in the game.
After sophomore Mike Nadratowski worked a walk, senior Stephen Claypool doubled down the left field line to put two in scoring position. Sophomore Kevin Zak then tied the game with a sacrifice fly deep in to center field, moving both runners up.
Rudenga then came to the plate and hit a slow ground ball towards first, which Claypool came home on. The throw from first, however, went over the catcher's head, allowing Claypool to slide in safely and Rudenga to move down to second. Potts then walked and again the Lakers had two in scoring position after a wild pitch moved them both up. Abel walked to load the bases and the third run of the game for the Lakers came across when junior Taylor Banks lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right-center field as GVSU led 3-1.
In the bottom of the second, the Lakers tagged another pair on using a two-out rally. After two quick outs to begin the frame, Claypool singled through the right side and Zak came to the plate and took the first pitch he saw out over the left field fence to make it 5-1.
The Eagles battled back over the next two innings, getting a two-out home run of their own in the top of the third by Tyler Gray to make it a 5-3 game, and pushing another run across in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout to cut the lead to 5-4.
In the top of the fifth, freshman pitcher Patrick Kelly got a strikeout to begin the inning, but after a single, head coach Jamie Detillion brought the NCAA Division II career saves record holder in to the game in senior Brad Zambron, and Zambron did what he has done all his career, getting two strikeouts to end the threat and keep the Lakers up, 5-4.
Playing off that momentum, the Laker offense blew the game open in the bottom of the fifth. Junior Giancarlo Brugnoni hit a giant home run just to the left field side of the batter's eye in center field to make it 6-4 and two consecutive doubles from Nadratowski and Claypool made it 7-4. After a walk to Zak, Rudenga singled to third base and while the ball laid in the infield after the third basemen over ran it, Claypool had his head up and charged for home all the way from second, sliding in under the tag to make it an 8-4 contest.
After a pitching change, Potts hit a high fly ball in to shallow left field that dropped safely to the ground after a diving catch attempt by the outfielder, allowing two runs to score to make it a 10-4 game.
The Eagles got three infield hits in the top of the seventh to bring one run across, but that was all they could muster as Zambron continued to close the door and get the Lakers a big win.
Kelly (4-3) earned the victory on the mound, working 4.1 innings, allowing eight hits, four runs (three earned) with three strikeouts. Zambron tallied his eighth save of the season with 2.2 innings in relief, allowing four hits and one run with three strikeouts.
The offense in the nightcap was led by Zak, who went 2-for-2 with two runs, three RBI and a walk, including his second home run of the year. Claypool had a career day, going 4-for-4 with three runs, an RBI and two doubles, giving him 10 on the year. Rudenga finished 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, including his fifth stolen base. Potts and Abel both went 1-for-2 with two walks, while Potts also drove in two. Brugnoni went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, both off his GLIAC-leading ninth home run of the year.
The final game of the three-game series will take place on Sunday (Apr. 28) at the Laker Baseball Field at noon. It will be senior day at the field, as six Laker seniors will be honored prior to the game.