Lakers hope to weather the Storm in GLIAC opener

Baseball team to face Lake Erie College in first GLIAC game

By Greg Monahan | 3/23/11 9:03pm


GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
Grand Valley State University Junior Steve Anderson slides into home during a past Laker game.

With the GLIAC season just two days away, the Grand Valley State University baseball team prepares for an opponent – and a climate – much different from those encountered at the beginning of the year.

After playing all non-conference opponents in two separate trips to South Carolina and Florida, the Lakers will open GLIAC play in the blustery north as they take on the newest addition to GLIAC baseball, Lake Erie College.

The forecast for Lake Erie, located in Painesville, Ohio, calls for a high of 33 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday, when the Lakers and Storm will play two sets of doubleheaders. After playing in 70-degree weather in Florida during spring break, the new temperatures will force GVSU to take some time to adjust.

“The weather is definitely a bit different,” said junior catcher Jared Cowan. “I wish we could have brought the Florida weather here. But this is Michigan. This is what we have to deal with, so we just have to get that out of our minds and get used to playing in this overcast, cold, windy weather.”

After an 11-2 start to the season, including a 9-1 stretch while in Florida, the team hopes for a quick start after finishing a half of a game back of Wayne State University for last year’s GLIAC title.

“We’ve been playing well for the first 13 games, so hopefully we can keep rolling and keep the momentum going,” said junior righty Kyle Schepel. “It’s kind of depressing – coming back up to Michigan after playing in Florida. But with the cold weather, we just have to make sure we do all the little things right and keep playing our best.”

The Lakers, ranked No. 1 in the GLIAC’s preseason poll, will go up against the team predicted to finish last in Lake Erie.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend, and hopefully we can pick up where we left off. We were playing pretty good in Florida when we left,” he said. “But every year is different, and every team is different, so our guys need to understand they need to go out and earn everything they will get this year and not rely on something that’s happened in the past.”

The brightest spot thus far for GVSU has been a dominating pitching staff as the Laker starters and bullpen have combined for a 2.72 team ERA.

Schepel has been the crown jewel in the rotation thus far as he is currently 2-0 and has held opposing batters to a .131 average. He said his and the entire staff’s success has come from controlling the opposition’s at bats.

“We’ve just been able to throw strikes, make guys miss our pitches and make guys hit our pitches as well,” said Schepel, who has allowed one earned run in 18 innings pitched – good for a 0.50 ERA. “We have to get them out with what we want to throw and not give in to the hitter. It’s basically just throwing a lot of strikes and letting our defense do the rest.”

And as the Lakers kick off conference play, a bad taste still remains after losing the conference title to Wayne State last season. It was the first time since 2002 that GVSU did not win at least a share of the GLIAC crown.

“(The GLIAC) is a really good baseball conference. It’s one of the better ones in the country,” Lyon said. “We’ve had good teams go through the regional and get to the College World Series.”

Assuming the weather stays dry, GVSU will open against Lake Erie on Saturday with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. First pitch of Sunday’s doubleheader will be at noon.

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