Cleary, Lakers push winning streak to nine
GV softball team sweeps Wayne State, Malone at home
With the bases loaded at a crucial spot in the game, Grand Valley State University senior Briauna Taylor stepped to the plate with a chance to break the tie. She stood in the box amid a 2-2 count — and delivered.
Taylor cleared the bases with a triple to deep right-center field in the bottom of the fifth inning against No. 14 Wayne State University on Friday, a moment that seemed to spark an impressive weekend for the Laker softball team.
GVSU went on to sweep WSU with 6-2 and 8-2 victories, and it stayed hot the next day by taking down Malone University with 13-3 and 5-0 wins.
“Our hitters are performing extremely well right now,” said senior outfielder Brittany Taylor, Briauna’s twin sister. “Our freshmen have been stepping up lately. It’s been a collective effort from the entire team.”
The Lakers (20-5) got the offense going from the start of the Friday doubleheader as senior third baseman Miranda Cleary knocked in her 28th RBI of the season to score freshman Jenna Lenza in the first inning.
Throughout the first four and a half innings, WSU countered both GVSU runs to set the stage for Briauna Taylor, who made the score 5-2 after sliding into third.
“Seeing that it’s our senior year, we are just playing stress-free and trying to have fun,” Brittany Taylor said. “(Briauna) is having a great year, and I’m trying to be like her; slowly but surely I’ll be at her level.”
Sophomore starter Sara Andrasik earned four straight groundouts and eventually picked up her eighth win of the season as the Lakers claimed the 6-2 victory.
The Laker bats stayed active in game two after Cleary started off the eight-hit affair by blasting a solo home run to deep right-center field.
“I try to go to the plate with the same mentality and that’s just to put the ball into play,” she said. “Before, I was trying to kill the ball, but lately I’ve settled in and let things come to me.”
In the fifth inning, Brittany Taylor came through with a bases-clearing double off the top of the fence to give GVSU a 6-2 advantage.
Junior starter Lauren Gevaart stayed in control throughout the day by tallying four strikeouts while giving up eight hits and two earned runs. The win pushed her record to 7-0.
“Lauren did a nice job,” coach Doug Woods said. “They got a couple of hits on her, but she bared down. When she’s in a tight situation, she’s pretty tough to hit.”
The momentum certainly carried over into game one on Saturday against Malone, as Cleary hit a pair of home runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Brittany Taylor hit a three-run jack to end the game in mercy, 13-3.
Andrasik picked up her ninth win of the season.
“Hitting seems to be contagious,” Woods said. “When one or two girls gets it going with their bats, then that tends to trickle down the lineup. That’s where we are at right now; you can only hope it continues.”
It was a much different story in game two, as the score remained 0-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning.
With senior first baseman Tanya Calkins on second base, sophomore outfielder McKenzie Supernaw seized the opportunity by hitting a line-drive double to left-center field to score the go-ahead run. After an offensive surge in the bottom of the sixth, the Lakers went on to win 5-0.
The Lakers have outscored their GLIAC opponents 62-8 in the nine-game winning streak.
The team will have a chance to win its 11th game in a row at Northwood University on Tuesday in Midland, Mich.