GVSU shows flair for dramatic in Florida

Lakers capture thrilling wins in first three games, cool off

By Jay Bushen | 3/9/15 1:49am

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Mike Nadratowski

by GVL/Emily Frye / The Lanthorn

For the Grand Valley State baseball team, the annual trip to Florida is about reps in 80 degree weather -- not wins and losses.

No. 16 GVSU showcased potential and a little bit of offseason rust during its first nine games, going 5-4 over break.

“I’m pretty excited about our team,” said coach Jamie Detillion. “5-4 is tough to get really excited about but, being a northern team that’s buried in snow at this time in the year, I’ve seen a lot of good things. I’m really happy with our depth.”

GVSU won its first three games of the season by one run, slugging their way to a 13-12 win over Gannon and a pair of 5-4 wins against Ashland.

From there, GVSU struggled on the mound in a two-game set against No. 17 Minnesota State-Mankato. The Mavericks scattered 21 hits and scored 20 runs, claiming 7-5 and 13-10 wins.

GVSU bounced back by notching a 12-6 win over Lewis, splitting a series with Drury and dropping a 12-6 decision at Florida Southern on Sunday.

“Right away we were tested in some pretty intense games, some close games, which is good for us,” said senior shortstop Kevin Zak. “A couple shaky ends of games there, but we were able to close out the first few before we dropped a couple to Mankato.”

Offensively, GVSU’s big-name hitters got it done.

Four Lakers have 10 or more hits with a batting average of .400 or better through nine games: Zak (.432), infielder Josh Griffith (.444), leadoff hitter Mike Nadratowski (.406) and outfielder Jamie Potts (.487).

“The biggest thing is just the fact that everyone in our lineup is hitting well, and hitting is contagious,” Zak said. “When the guy in front of and behind you are hitting well, you get on a roll.

"We’ve done a good job hitting from top to bottom in our order.”

Other hitters like John McLaughlin (who suppled a game-winning RBI single against Ashland), Matt Williams and Aaron Overbeck came through with big hits at key spots, as well.

“We have plenty of talent,” Potts said. “If we cut down on the mistakes and get some guys rolling along we’ll win a lot of games. I have the utmost confidence in this team.”

GVSU’s pitching staff was somewhat inconsistent, surrendering 10-plus runs in four games, but the Lakers don’t seem worried.

“We have all the confidence in the world in them,” Zak said.

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