May 18, 2012
YPSILANTI, Mich. - The ninth-ranked Grand Valley State baseball team got back on track on Friday (May 18), using a four-run seventh inning to eliminate Lewis from the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament by a 9-5 score. The Lakers pounded out 18 hits as senior Ryan Garman (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Johnson County C.C.) moved his win total to 10 on the season.
In a contrast from Thursday's game, the Lakers were able to pick up the early lead against the Flyers. Freshman Mike Nadratowski (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) led off the game with a single in to center and senior Brian Robinson (Troy, Mich.) was hit by a pitch. After a balk put both runners in scoring position, a ground out allowed the first run to cross the plate as GVSU went up 1-0. The Lakers tried to get another run across on a fly ball to left field in the next at-bat, but a great throw from the outfield gunned the runner down at the plate. Garman did his part in the bottom half, setting the Flyers down in order to lead 1-0 after the first inning.
Lewis answered in the bottom of the second, putting the first two runners of the inning on. An attempted sacrifice bunt got thrown away, allowing both runners to score and the batter to wind up on third. After a ground out to keep the runner at third, a sacrifice fly was lifted in to center field, pushing the lead to 3-1 for the Flyers after two.
The Lakers kept the pressure on in the following frame with a two-RBI single back up the middle from senior Steve Anderson (Northville, Mich.) that scored senior Nadratowski and Robinson to tie the game up at three.
Again the Flyers responded, hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the third to take the lead back, 4-3.
After a scoreless fourth, the Lakers tied the game back up at four in the top of the fifth. Redshirt freshman Kevin Zak (Novi, Mich.) battled back from a 1-2 count to draw a two-out walk and Anderson drove in his third RBI of the day with a ball that smacked off the left field wall, scoring Zak from first.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Flyers took the lead back yet again. After the lead-off man reached on an error, Garman was able to induce a fly ball out and a ground out, but a double to the right field gap scored the runner from first to give Lewis a 5-4 lead.
GVSU battled back again in th e top of the seventh. After senior Zach Laupp (Mattawan, Mich.) singled and Nadratowski laid down his second bunt single of the game, the corner infielders rushed in on a bunt attempt by Robinson. Robinson pulled the bat back and laced a ground ball by the pulled in first baseman, allowing Laupp to score from second and tie the game at five, placing runners on the corners with nobody out. Zak then hit a high chopper back to the mound which Nadratowski tried to score from third on, but the throw beat him home to keep the game tied. Anderson followed with a single in to right field, but for the third time in the game, the outfield throw ended in an out at the plate.
Finally, after two runners were thrown out at the plate in the inning, sophomore Giancarlo Brugnoni (Grosse Pointe, Mich./De La Salle) shot a single through the left side of the infield to score Zak from third and give the Lakers a 6-5 lead. Cowan joined in on the hit parade with a single down the left field line, scoring Anderson from second to make it 7-5 and then junior Chris Rudenga (South Holland, Ill./Illiana Christian) shot a ball back up the middle to score Brugnoni and the Lakers built an 8-5 lead. The inning ended with the Lakers tallying seven hits, all singles, and four runs in the frame.
GVSU pushed an insurance run across in the top of the eighth with a Zak RBI single that scored Laupp, making it a 9-5 advantage.
Junior Brad Zambron (Waterford, Mich./Brother Rice) came in for the ninth and retired Lewis in order to preserve the 9-5 victory.
The Lakers wrapped up the game with 18 hits, including four players with three hits a piece. Anderson went 3-for-5 with a run and three RBI, while Cowan finished 3-for-5 with an RBI. Nadratowski and Laupp each went 3-for-4 with Nadratowski scoring twice and Laupp tied a career-high with three runs. Zak went 1-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, while Rudenga went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Robinson went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Garman (10-2) moved in to double digits for wins, going six innings, allowing only four hits and one earned run. Senior Cory Rademacher (DeWitt, Mich.) and Zambron combined for three shutout innings of relief, allowing only one hit.
The Lakers, now 42-15, will play at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (May 19) against Northern Kentucky, who dropped a 6-1 decision to Rockhurst on Friday evening. Lewis finishes their season at 33-22 overall.