Senior ties GVSU single-game RBI record
Aracena-Sanchez has career night in win over Hillsdale
#6 Senior Taylor Banks. GV / Emily Frye
Head coach Jamie Detillion of the No. 18 Grand Valley State University baseball team met with senior left fielder Ariel Aracena-Sanchez in his office on Tuesday and told him to take more of a loose approach at the plate.
Aracena-Sanchez appeared to be calm, cool and collected in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Hillsdale College on Wednesday — and not only did he bang a first-inning grand slam over the left-field wall, but he also tied the GVSU single-game record with seven RBIs.
“I was just relaxing and got lucky I had guys on base,” he said after the game. “Coach just told me to take it easy in there and relax when I’m the box to see the ball clear and swing a little softer.”
“It worked out well today.”
The Grand Rapids product ties classmate and first baseman Giancarlo Brugnoni with the record-breaking performance. Former Laker Pete Pierman also accomplished the rare feat in 2000.
GVSU (15-5, 6-0 GLIAC) remained in first place with the 12-1 and 13-8 “home” victories at Davenport University’s Farmer’s Athletic Complex after the impressive individual effort.
“I’m really happy for him,” Detillion said. “We just had a talk in my office about trying to get his approach down, and I don’t know if we can attribute everything to that, but he definitely played how we hoped he would play.”
The Lakers, who had picked up their first four victories of GLIAC action over the weekend without surrendering a single earned run, had their offense firing on all cylinders against the Chargers.
In game one, junior designated hitter Jesse Abel notched an RBI single to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, and they never looked back.
GVSU rolled the dice often on the base path, and the strategy paid dividends.
“You just try to play small ball when it’s this cold out,” junior second baseman Kevin Zak said. “You try to get on base and get singles because the ball is not going to carry as well.
“We’re not going to be able to rely on the big hit. We tried to scrap for runs when the winds blowing in and it’s 25 degrees out.”
Small ball worked just fine over the weekend atop the frigid turf surface, but the sun was shining Wednesday, and the ball carried just fine in game two.
Zak caught the attention of the small number of fans in attendance when he blasted a homer down the left-field line. Then, after the 4-6 hitters reached base, Aracena-Sanchez duplicated Zak’s jack with a bomb of his own.
The duo combined to go 8-for-11 with 11 RBIs in the two-game set.
Detillion said he was happy with the sweep against the Chargers, who fell to 3-3 in conference play, but he didn’t like what he saw from the somewhat sloppy Laker pitching in game two.
“I though we played pretty well in the first game, but I’m pretty disappointed with how some things unfolded in the second game,” he said. “There’s some mistakes we’ve got to cut down on as the season goes along in all phases of the game.
“We let up a little bit, and the way that we have been playing in the last six games, it would be nice to keep it rolling and keep the right frame of mind through the finish of the game — especially after we threw three shutouts in four games.”
Sophomore pitcher Russell Griffin (2-0) picked up the victory in game one, while senior Sean Clancy (3-0) earned the other.
GVSU will hit the diamond this weekend for a big series at Ashland University on Saturday and Sunday.