Lenza, Lakers mercy Lake Erie twice in sweep
GVSU caps eight-game homestand Tuesday against LSSU
After sweeping Wayne State in a pair of low-scoring affairs at home on Tuesday, junior ace Sara Andrasik and her Grand Valley State teammates found themselves in a similar situation against Ashland three days later.
GVSU and Ashland were deadlocked through seven innings, 0-0, but the Lakers finished with just two hits, losing 1-0. Both pitchers went the distance, but Ashland's Sarah Alley got the win (4-0).
Ally Farrah hit an RBI single to give Ashland the lead. The run was unearned due to a GVSU error.
“It was a tough one,” said GVSU coach Dana Callihan. “But Ashland is a very good team, so we knew it was going to be a battle going in. They caught the breaks at the right time and we didn't, but I was very proud of our team in the way they bounced back in game two.
"They didn't let that determine the outcome of the day."
The Lakers were looking to bounce back in game two, but it wasn't looking too good for them early on. Ashland grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning after a wild GVSU pitch, and made it 2-0 in the fourth on a run-scoring single.
But from there, GVSU freshman pitcher Courtney Reinhold stole the show and never looked back. Reinhold retired the final 11 batters she faced and didn’t give Ashland another chance to score.
The Lakers trailed 2-1 in the top of the seventh (visiting teams bat second in game two), but proceeded to load the bases for their hottest hitter, Jenna Lenza, who cracked a three-RBI double. Two batters later, Ellie Balbach hit the right-field fence with an RBI double, making it a 5-2 game in GVSU's favor.
No low-scoring affairs took place during Saturday's doubleheader against Lake Erie on a windy day in Allendale.
Everything seemed to go GVSU's way in game one. In the bottom of the first, McKenze Supernaw came to the plate with a runner on and blasted a two-run bomb over the fence in left-center field.
“It was just right there I guess,” Supernaw said. “And it helps that I've really been working on my outside pitches.”
Chelsea Horvath hit an RBI triple in the second to make it 3-0 before the Lakers pushed their lead to 6-0 in the third and 9-0 in the fourth. The game ended there, as GVSU secured a victory via mercy rule.
Andrasik earned the win (7-4), scattering three hits through five innings.
Game two was more of the same for the Lakers, as the team plated five runs in the bottom of the first.
Balbach was GVSU's starter for game two, but did not get much help from her defense early in the game. Lake Erie scored six runs in the first frame after GVSU committed four errors.
“It wasn’t their fault,” Balbach said. “It’s a team sport. We decided to keep pushing through it.”
Lenza, who came into the doubleheader with team highs in home runs (four) and RBIs (21), stepped to the plate in the top of the third with two outs, the bases loaded and a chance to be the hero.
The sophomore from Orland Hills, Ill. came through in the biggest way, blasting a ball over the opposite-field wall to clear the bases. It was the first GVSU grand slam since March 7, 2014.
The Storm scored two runs in the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Lakers from winning the game by mercy rule again with a score of 18-10. Balbach gave up 10 runs, but only five were earned.
GVSU (21-7, 7-2 GLIAC) hosts Lake Superior State on Tuesday for a two-game set starting at 3 p.m.