May 27, 2013
CARY, N.C. - The 14th-ranked Grand Valley State baseball team kept their season going on Monday (May 27) with an 8-4 victory over #17 Shippensburg at the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals in an elimination game.
GVSU moves to 36-18 overall on the season, while Shippensburg ends its season at 32-23 overall. The Lakers will take on the loser of the Minnesota State/Franklin Pierce game on Wednesday (May 29) at 3 p.m. The Mavericks and Ravens face off at 5 p.m. on Monday in a winner's bracket game.
The Lakers, who came in to Monday's game outscoring their opponents 45-17 in the first inning, extended that advantage on the season. Sophomore Mike Nadratowski lifted a high fly ball down the left field line that a diving outfielder was unable to come up with as Nadratowski raced around to third for a lead-off triple. He then walked across home plate when senior Stephen Claypool doubled down the left field line to make it an early 1-0 lead for GVSU.
Sophomore Kevin Zak kept the ball rolling by hitting a bloop single over the first baseman's head to put runners at the corners and sophomore Jamie Potts made it a 2-0 game when he laid down a bunt for a safety squeeze which Claypool slid in safe on. Senior Chris Rudenga capped the scoring by driving a ball in to the left field gap that scored Zak to give the Lakers a 3-0 lead after one inning of play.
"It was nice to get going offensively early. Everyone was able to contribute and we came up with some key hits with two outs and produce a couple of runs. We have been taking good batting practice so I knew we were capable of breaking out and scoring some runs," said head coach Jamie Detillion on his team's quick start.
Senior starter Anthony Campanella surrendered a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the first, but the Lakers kept the momentum going with a double play and a diving stop by Zak deep in the hole at second to end the inning.
The Lakers duplicated that effort in the top of the third inning, beginning with a lead-off double from Potts and coming in on a Rudenga single to right-center field to make it 4-0. After a sacrifice bunt moved Rudenga to second, a bunt single from junior Stuart Eisler put runners on the corners with two out. Nadratowski then singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Rudenga and sending Eisler to third. A wild pitch during the next at-bat brought Eisler in to score, putting GVSU up 6-0.
Another run got tacked on in the top of the fifth, with sophomore Jesse Abel and junior Taylor Banks singling to begin the inning, with Abel coming in to score on an RBI single from Nadratowski to make it 7-0.
Through only five innings of play, every starter in the GVSU lineup had at least one hit.
The Raiders mounted a come back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs behind five straight hits. With the bases loaded, however, the Lakers induced a ground ball double play to get out of the inning holding on to a 7-3 lead.
GVSU picked up a big insurance run in the next half-inning, getting an RBI single from Nadratowski that scored Eisler, who had singled and stole second. Nadratowski hit a ground ball deep in the hole on the right side of the infield that the fielder made a diving grab for, but was late on the throw to first. Eisler was hustling all the way from second and slid in under the tag at home to score on the infield single and make it an 8-3 game.
After Campanella left with eight strong innings of work, senior Brad Zambron worked the final inning to preserve the victory.
The win is the first in school history for GVSU in the town of Cary. The six previous NCAA Division II Baseball National Final victories came at the previous venue of Montgomery, Ala.
Nadratowski led the offense with a huge 4-for-5 game, including his second triple of the season. Nadratowski scored once and drove in three. He paced six Lakers who had multiple hits in the game, including Rudenga who went 2-for-5 with a run, two RBI and a double, and Eisler, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Claypool, Zak and Potts each had two hits and scored once, while Potts and Claypool also drove in one each.
Campanella moved in to double digits in wins on the season, going to 10-4, allowing 10 hits and three runs with no walks and three strikeouts in eight innings of work. With his eight innings, he is now at 101 innings pitched on the year, the second-most in school history in a single season and the second pitcher in Laker history to eclipse the century mark in a single year (Matt Rafeld, 2004, 111.2 innings).
"Anthony has been our go to guy this season and we feel comfortable with him on the mound when our backs are against the wall. He is a competitor and he has been in these situations before and knows how to get the job done," commented Detillion on his senior starting pitcher.
All-region pitcher Campanella on his being the starter in an elimination game and the early runs the Lakers scored, said "I want the ball in these situations. As a captain and a senior leader I know what needs to be done when I get on the mound. I need to compete every pitch and get as deep in the game as I can. It was nice to have that run support early and get the early lead."
An update on the opponent will be posted here on gvsulakers.com as soon as it is known.