Lakers take three of four from SVSU
Cardinals end Lakers' 14-game win streak in opener; Lakers reclaim final three weekend games
Grand Valley player Garrett Yatch swings and foul tips during Saturday’s second game against Saginaw Valley. The Lakers split the games, losing the first and coming out on top during the second.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
The Grand Valley State University men’s baseball team saw its 14-game win streak come to an end Saturday afternoon with a 6-1 loss in game one of a doubleheader against GLIAC rival Saginaw Valley State University.
Grand Valley pitcher Kyle Schepel throws a pitch during the second game of Saturday's double header at home in Allendale. The Laker's split the pair of games with Saginaw Valley.
The No. 3 Lakers rebounded from their game one loss with a 5-0 win in game two and then took both games from Saginaw Valley on Sunday, winning two close ones, 5-3 and 8-7.
The Lakers held off the visiting Cardinals in game two on Sunday behind a strong effort from the bullpen after starter junior Christopher Whitney was knocked out by five runs in his second inning of work. Junior right-hander Cory Rademacher earned the win, giving up two hits in his two innings of relief.
Sophomore southpaw Brad Zambron picked up two saves on the day, earning his fifth of the season after striking out two batters in his 1 2/3 inning of work in game two. First baseman Giancarlo Brugnoni, a red-shirted freshman , went 2-for-4 in game two with 2 RBI’s and a run scored, while junior center fielder Cody Grice also went 2-for-4 and drove in one.
Following Saturday’s game one loss, the Lakers had a more patient approach at the plate for the rest of the series and calmed down to focus on getting back to what had made them successful during the win streak.
“In between games (on Saturday) we calmed ourselves down and just focused on playing the game we’ve been playing lately,” Grice said. “We’ve succeeded by using the whole field, keeping the ball down to hit line drives and not trying to do too much with it. That has been working well and we’ve been able to string hits together and push runs across.”
In Saturday’s opener, the Lakers fell behind early and couldn’t recover from a pair of errors. Senior Joe Jablonski dropped to 4-1 on the season despite only allowing two earned runs in his 4 1/3 innings of work.
With over 450 wins and 13 seasons as head coach under his belt, Steve Lyon knows that double headers are very hard to sweep and occasionally win streaks have to end.
“When you win 14 in a row, you know it’s going to stop somewhere along the line,” Lyon said. “The guy who threw the first game for them had some velocity and pounded the zone and we had a few bad breaks. We didn’t play great defense, but that’s baseball – you play enough games and sometimes you come out a little flat.”
In game two, junior right-hander Kyle Schepel improved to 5-0 by making quick work of the Cardinals, giving up only three hits in six strong innings.
“I always try to throw my best and had confidence that our team would bounce back,” Schepel said. “I tried to work quick to keep the infield ready since it keeps everyone in the game more and we usually play better. We knew that we didn’t play our best (in game one) and came back determined to win.”
Schepel’s pitching was dominant, as the junior did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and worked quickly to keep the Cardinals’ hitters off balance. Lyon was clearly pleased with the end result.
“Kyle has been pitching very well,” he said. “He did a great job coming out and putting up some zeros on the board and gave us a chance to get ahead and feel comfortable.”
Lyon cited the depth of the Laker’s starting pitching as instrumental in their success, and said that it has been nice having three potential No. 1 starters in Jablonski, Schepel and Garman at the top of the rotation.
The Lakers will put their new three-game win streak on the line against Hillsdale College tomorrow afternoon on the road for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.
As of Sunday afternoon, there is a possibility that the game might be moved to Allendale, weather pending.