GVSU baseball drops opening series
Laker pitching can't quiet Southern Indiana bats in losses
GVL / Emily Frye Connor Glick against Saginaw Valley on March 28, 2016
Rocky first innings doomed the Grand Valley State baseball team during its season-opening series at Southern Indiana from Feb. 19-21.
The Lakers won the first game of the series, but dropped the next two by wide margins. In the three games, GVSU surrendered 14 total runs in the first innings.
"Our pitchers, all three games, had a hard time adjusting to the mound," said GVSU head coach Jamie Detillion. "We just need to do a better job of adjusting to the game right when we come to the mound.
"SIU is a good team. They swung the bats really well, they were very aggressive early and they hit a lot of mistakes."
The Lakers have a number of players with collegiate baseball experience, but a noticeable lack of players with GVSU experience. For Laker catcher Connor Glick, however, getting outside for the first slate of games was a bigger factor than the team makeup.
"I just think it's just being outside for the first time going right into games, not being able to get a feel for going outside" Glick said. "We're just getting the rust off. We need to compete a little more — I think we're a good team, we just didn't play to our level."
In game one, the Lakers struck with a run in the top of the inning, as Alex Young advanced from first to home thanks to speed, an error, a wild pitch and a passed ball. The lead wouldn't last long, however, as SIU tattooed GVSU starter Troy Dykhuis for three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Dykhuis settled down, and the 3-1 score held until the bottom of GVSU's lineup came through in the fifth inning. Third baseman Anthony Villar roped a two-run home run to left field, scoring Johnny Nate and tying the game at 3-3.
The next few innings went without fireworks, until GVSU's Josh Griffith came through with a RBI double to score Glick. Junior Matt Williams stepped on the mound next inning, and earned a quick save to give GVSU its first win of the season.
Senior Tim Tarter earned the win for GVSU, working four scoreless innings in relief while striking out three.
The Lakers were unable to bounce back from even rougher first innings over the next two games, and were blown out by scores of 13-5 and 16-6.
GVSU starter Zach Anderson left too many pitches high in the zone early in game two, and was chased after just two innings of work in which he allowed eight hits and six earned runs. Laker pitchers allowed 16 hits in all, and the defense committed three errors. Despite racking up 10 hits of their own, the Lakers were never able to climb back into the game after the disastrous first inning.
"It's early in the season, we just got to execute better, just plain and simple," Detillion said. "All around the board it was a rough day for us. (SIU is) a good team so gladly we'll give them credit, they deserve it. We just got to get better."
The third game of the series was more of the same, and GVSU never truly gave itself a chance to win the series. SIU tagged GVSU starter Kyle Lawson for eight runs in 1.2 innings, all of which were earned.
But the Screaming Eagles weren't done there. They feasted on GVSU's pitching all game long, scoring in all but two innings in which they saw at-bats. SIU catcher Ryan Bertram hit a grand slam in the first inning.
GVSU managed to put five runs on the board from the third to the fifth inning, but never could rally enough to truly get back into the game.
The Lakers finished with nine hits and two errors, while the Screaming Eagles racked up 19 hits to go with one error.
GVSU will be back in action from Feb. 26-28 at a tournament in St. Charles, Missouri.