May 10, 2013
Allendale, Mich. - #9 Grand Valley State broke a 3-3 tie by scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Lakers eventually knocked off West Michigan rival Ferris State 8-4 on the opening day of the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament. FSU had tied the score in the top of the sixth before a two-run home run from junior Brittany Taylor put the Lakers ahead to stay.
The game between West Michigan rivals was a good one, as the teams followed a tight 2-1 contest in Friday's opening game in Allendale. Third-seeded Missouri-St. Louis topped sixth-seeded Southern Indiana, 2-1, in a game that was delayed by rain for one hour and 50 minutes. That, in turn, forced the GVSU-FSU game to start more than two hours after it was originally scheduled to begin.
With the victory, Grand Valley State reaches 40 wins for the third straight year, as the Lakers improve to 40-6 on the season. GVSU is the #2 seed in the Midwest Region and hosting the sub-regional tournament for the third consecutive season. Ferris State, the runners-up in the GLIAC and seventh seed in the region, drops to 29-15 overall.
On Saturday, the opening game pits Grand Valley State against Missouri-St. Louis at 11:00 a.m. Due to a coin toss, the Lakers will be the road team, with UMSL being the home squad. Game two will see Southern Indiana as the visitor and Ferris State as the home team. That game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start.
Friday's game featured the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year (Ferris State's Dana Bowler) against a First Team All-GLIAC selection in GVSU's Hannah Santora. There was just one base hit between the two teams in the first two innings. However, in the bottom of the third inning, the Lakers broke through for three runs off of Bowler.
Brittany Taylor, senior Nellie Kosola, and Briauna Taylor recorded back-to-back-to-back singles with one out to load the bases for 2013 GLIAC Player of the Year Katie Martin. She hit a slow grounder down the line and when the FSU third baseman tried to get the force out at home, Brittany Taylor had beat the throw and slid in safely for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, senior Emily Jones hit a bloop single to left field that brought in Kosola and Briauna Taylor from second base. The Lakers had a 3-0 cushion.
Santora retired the Bulldogs in order in the fourth inning. Ferris State tallied consecutive one-out singles in the fifth inning, but Santora got out of the jam by forcing a groundout and a popup to end the frame.
The Bulldogs were able to finally break through in the sixth inning on three hits and two GVSU errors. Three straight singles to start the frame brought in a run and FSU tied the score at 3-3 after a fielder's choice and a groundout. On the groundout, Grand Valley State nearly pulled off a 5-3-2 inning-ending double play, but the Bulldog runner just barely slid into home plate before being tagged by Laker catcher Emily Holt.
Ferris State appeared to have the momentum at this point, as Bowler struck out the first two batters she faced in the bottom of the sixth inning. With a 2-2 count, Holt blooped a single down the right field line and freshman Chelsea Horvath was inserted as a pinch runner. Two pitches later, Brittany Taylor crushed a Bowler offering far over the fence in left center field, putting GVSU back on top, 5-3.
The Lakers did not stop there. Kosola ripped a single to center field and Briauna Taylor reached on a bunt single. Grand Valley State picked up two insurance runs when Martin drilled a double to left center that brought the two speedsters all the way around from first and second base, giving the Lakers a 7-3 advantage. For good measure, senior Kayleigh Bertram followed with an RBI double - also to left center - to make it 8-3 and chase Bowler from the game. All five runs and six GVSU hits came with two outs in the inning.
FSU managed one run in the top of the seventh inning, but Santora closed out the contest by fielding a groundball and a popup. The senior righthander is now 22-2 on the season, as she allowed eight hits and four runs (two earned). She walked one Bulldog and struck out five. In 5.2 innings, Bowler (21-9) allowed eight earned runs on 12 hits.
Five Grand Valley State players - Kosola, both Taylor sisters, Martin, and Jones - had two hits. Martin had three RBI, while Jones and Brittany Taylor both had two ribbies apiece. Both Taylor's and Kosola crossed home plate twice.
The Lakers will go from facing the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year (Bowler) on Friday to seeing the GLVC Pitcher of the Year on Saturday in Missouri-St. Louis freshman Hannah Perryman. Against Southern Indiana on Friday afternoon, Perryman allowed just one run on four hits. She walked three batters, but recorded 13 strikeouts.
Saturday's games will feature live video webcasts, free of charge. Click the tournament central link at the top of this page to view those webcasts.