GVSU baseball opens 2017 with four wins
The GVSU bats scored five runs or more in each game and closer Matt Williams recorded two saves
In the team’s first action of the season, the Grand Valley State baseball team traveled down to Nashville and swept a four-game weekend series. The Lakers started the weekend with two wins over Trevecca Nazarene (5-2, 10-4) followed by two more wins over Alderson Broaddus (6-4, 10-9).
In the first game of the weekend, the Lakers relied on the formula that proved successful last season. Senior Kyle Lawson started on the mound and won the game while closer Matt Williams recorded his first save of the season.
At the plate, senior Keith Browning hit a solo homerun in the first inning and drove in another run in the second.
“That’s what we expect out of our returners and our leadership is to step in and show the new guys the way,” said GVSU coach Jamie Detillion. “When big moments come up, find a way to get it done.”
A key to the Lakers' success this season will hinge not only on the team’s veterans but also the new pitchers that transferred into the program this year.
In the second game, transfer pitcher Jake Mason got the start and the win after pitching five innings of three-run ball. Another transfer, Noah Lamboley, recorded the two-inning save.
“We had a lot of strikeouts the first day,” said junior Connor Glick. “I would say they were a little anxious at first, but once they got settled down they did really well.”
The Lakers’ bats led the way by scoring four runs in the first inning. GVSU’s catchers provided the Lakers with offensive firepower. Glick provided three hits while Brody Andrews drove in four runs on two hits.
“I like our depth (at the catcher position),” Detillion said. “Early in the season you have to rely on your experience from last year, and (Glick and Andrews) have the most.”
In the second day of the weekend, the Lakers scored runs in bunches again. GVSU scored four runs in the fourth inning which was enough for transfer pitcher Ryan Arnold to get the win.
“(The top half of the order) gave the bottom half of the order a good idea of what pitchers were trying to do and how they were attacking hitters by the time we got up to the plate,” Andrews said.
Williams pitched a perfect seventh inning to record his second save of the weekend.
Looking to complete the four-game sweep, the Lakers grabbed a 6-0 lead after the first five innings against Alderson Broaddus. In the top of the sixth inning, Alderson Broaddus scored nine runs to claim a three run lead with two innings to play.
For the first time this season, the Lakers were trailing and needed to score runs in a hurry if they wanted to complete the sweep.
“To our guys’ credit, they hung around and we talked about it between innings to make sure we had the right mindset to still compete and win the game,” Detillion said.
After scoring two runs, Glick stepped up to the plate with two outs and the tying run on second base.
“He started me out with a fastball high that was a ball,” Glick said. “I knew from my previous two at-bats that he didn’t have control of any of his other pitches so he was probably going to throw me a fastball. I just sat back and put a good swing on it.”
Glick ripped a double to left field to score Zach Berry. Pitcher Tate Brawley shut the door in the top of the seventh to give the Lakers a chance to win.
With two outs and the bases loaded, leadoff hitter Alex Young drew a walk-off walk to give the Lakers a 10-9 win. Andrews finished the game with two RBIs and three walks.
“(Andrews) put some good swings on some pitches,” Detillion said. “He just saw the ball and put good swings on all weekend. He stuck to a solid approach and had some results to show for it.”
After the sweep, the Lakers will travel down to Orlando for an eight-game spring break trip. GVSU will play its first game against Minnesota State-Mankato Tuesday, March 7 at 9:30 a.m.