April 7, 2013
Allendale, Mich. - On a chilly and windy day on Sunday afternoon (Apr. 7), #12 Grand Valley State captured a big conference sweep over West Michigan rival Ferris State. The Lakers received stellar pitching performances in defeating FSU by scores of 4-2 and 1-0. In game two, GVSU freshman Sara Andrasik tossed a no-hitter, the first one by a Laker pitcher in over five years.
Sunday's twinbill was an important one, as the two teams came into the games ranked first and second in the GLIAC standings. Grand Valley State improves to 23-3 on the season and 11-1 in conference play, while Ferris State falls to 15-9 overall and 8-4 in league action.
There was strong pitching by both teams in the doubleheader, as the teams combined for just seven runs and 21 hits in the two games. GVSU senior Hannah Santora won her 13th consecutive start with a complete game victory, while Andrasik followed up with a 10-strikeout performance in the first no-hitter of her young career. Together, Santora and Andrasik recorded 17 strikeouts on the day and held Ferris State to a .180 batting average.
Andrasik's no-hitter is the first by a Laker pitcher since Lori Andjelich tossed a five-inning no-hitter against Mercyhurst in a 9-0 GVSU win on Mar. 29, 2008.
GVSU got on the board early in game one, pushing a run home after just three batters. Senior Nellie Kosola singled to center field and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Briauna Taylor. Designated player Katie Martin then blasted a double midway up the center field wall, as Kosola had no problem scoring and putting the Lakers ahead, 1-0.
Ferris State would tie the score in the fourth inning on a run-scoring single by Michelle Tononi, putting runners on second and third with just one out. Santora would battle back, however, and strike out the next two batters to end the frame.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Lakers loaded the bases on a one-out double by senior Emily Jones, a walk to junior Tonya Calkins, and a sharp single to left field from senior Kayleigh Bertram. After a force out at home left the bases juiced and with two outs, senior catcher Emily Holt ripped a shot back up the middle that hit FSU pitcher Dana Bowler in the leg and ricocheted across the infield. Holt made it to first base safely, while Calkins scored on the play. Bowler remained in the game and showed no ill affects from the sharply hit ball.
Junior Brittany Taylor then hit a groundball up the first base line that got past the FSU first baseman and bounced off the base and into the outfield for a single. Bertram and Miranda Cleary both scored on the play, putting GVSU on top by a 4-1 count.
Ferris State continued to battle against Santora, but the senior righthander would not allow the Bulldogs to chip away at the deficit. Santora struck out the final two batters of the fifth inning, as FSU left runners on first and second base. In the sixth, with runners on first and second, Santora worked out of the inning by inducing a flyball.
The Bulldogs did get a meaningless run in the seventh inning, which would be the only frame in which FSU did not leave a runner on base. FSU left 10 runners on base in the game. Santora recorded a swinging strikeout on the game's final batter to move her record to 13-0 this season. She scattered nine hits, allowing two earned runs and three walks. The righty fanned seven batters.
Jones and Holt were the lone Lakers with more than one base hit, as both players went 2-for-3. Martin and Jones had the only extra base hits for GVSU - both doubles - while Brittany Taylor (two RBI), Holt, and Martin collected an RBI.
FSU sent out the same starting pitcher - Bowler - in game two and she engaged in quite a pitcher's duel with Andrasik. The Lakers recorded a hit in the second inning, but neither team could do anything else until GVSU scrapped together a run in the fourth frame.
Martin led off and reached on a fielding error by the Bulldog third baseman. Jones followed and put down a perfect bunt, but the FSU catcher attempted to throw out Martin at second base. The throw went into centerfield and Martin moved to third base with nobody out. Two batters later, Bertram hit a deep fly down the left field line that turned into a sacrifice fly, scoring Martin for the game's only run.
Meanwhile, Andrasik was cruising. After giving up a leadoff walk in the second inning, she struck out the next three batters. She notched a pair of strikeouts in the fifth inning, including a strikeout looking to end the frame. Andrasik retired nine straight batters from the fourth to the seventh innings, but faced a little trouble in the seventh.
With one out, Ferris State put a runner on base after a Laker fielding error. Andrasik buckled down to get the second out on a swinging strikeout. Alex Wittman came to the plate with two outs and she sent a deep drive to left centerfield, easily the hardest hit ball of the day for the Bulldogs. Left fielder Brittany Taylor and Kosola in centerfield both headed that way and Taylor made a terrific, diving catch on the warning track to end the game, not only preserving the no-hitter, but keeping the shutout in tact, as the Bulldog runner was already around third base and would've tied the game at 1-1 had it not been for Taylor's webgem.
Andrasik's no-hitter ups her record to 10-2 on the season. She allowed just four batters to reach base; three came on walks and the other on an error. The 10 strikeouts marks the fourth time this season that Andrasik has reached double figures in that category. She has already thrown a pair of one-hitters in wins over Assumption (Mar. 5; W, 4-0) and Southern Connecticut State (Mar. 9; W, 9-0). The last time a GVSU pitcher threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory was on Mar. 5, 2002, when Laker great Jen Mackson beat Holy Family 1-0.
Bertram was 2-for-2 in the second game, collecting two of the three hits in the entire contest. Martin had the other base hit. There were no extra base hits in game two.
Grand Valley State will close out its current 12-game homestand on Wednesday (Apr. 10) against Lake Superior State. That twinbill is slated for a 3:00 p.m. start.