Lakers cruise past SVSU in home opener
Sophomore Russell Griffin. GV / Emily Frye
The traveling roadshow that is the Grand Valley State University baseball team returned home for a delightful day on the diamond after playing its first 26 games away from Allendale.
More than 600 strong were on hand to catch a few rays and a glimpse of the action against rival Saginaw Valley State University on Wednesday at the GVSU Baseball Field, and the home team didn’t disappoint.
GVSU was powered by a pair of dominant pitching performances from sophomore Russell Griffin and senior Sean Clancy as the Lakers limited SVSU to just nine hits overall in the 4-0 and 13-1 victories.
“Russell threw a pretty good game,” coach Jamie Detillion said. “We’ve still got to cut the walks down for both him and Sean, but our pitchers kept us in the game the entire time. That’s what we expect out of them.”
The Lakers, who were donning camouflage uniforms as part of Military Appreciation Week, looked just fine on the mound while their top-three starters had the day off.
Griffin gave up just five hits and three walks in 6.1 innings of work in game one before Clancy surrendered four hits, three walks and one earned run in 6.0 innings of the nightcap.
“That’s what we need when we have multiple games without our top three guys going,” Detillion said.
The Lakers were just as impressive in the batter’s box but after stranding 11 runners in game one, found something to work on in game two.
The hitters got it going offensively with a four-run third inning and a five-run fourth to effectively put the game out of reach early.
“We finally got outside yesterday,” senior first baseman Giancarlo Brugnoni said. “That was our turnaround point last year – once we started getting outside and getting on-field swings – and it definitely carried over today.”
Nine different Lakers supplied at least one hit in rout.
Brugnoni went 5-for-6 overall in the twinbill, and added a trio of RBIs to push his GLIAC-leading total to 35.
Meanwhile, junior right fielder Jamie Potts went 5-for-7 on the day to balloon his GLIAC-leading batting average to .443 on the season.
“I was happy all around, it was a good day for us,” Potts said. “Guys get comfortable seeing their pitcher a few at-bats in a row. A lot of guys stepped up.”
The 15th-ranked Lakers move to 21-7 overall on the season with a 12-2 mark in conference play. SVSU drops to 6-18 with a 3-11 GLIAC record.
GVSU had played 11 “home” games this year at alternate sites, including Farmer’s Athletic Complex at Davenport University and Oestrike Stadium at Eastern Michigan University.
“It feels good,” Potts said. “It was kind of weird to have your first home games halfway through the season. It was awesome to see the support we got today.
“There were a lot of students and family that came out. It was great to be here and see everybody.”
GVSU President Thomas Haas, Louie the Laker, and a number of other student-athletes from Athletics were also in attendance.
The “travelling road show” will hit the road once again for its next seven contests, starting this weekend with a doubleheader at Walsh University on Saturday.