GVSU baseball drops three of the last four games at Russmatt Invitational to finish 5-5
The Lakers are 9-5
GVL / Emily Frye Junior Matt Williams against Northwood University on Wednesday April 13, 2016.
After winning four of the first six games of the Russmatt Invitational in Orlando, Florida, the Grand Valley State baseball team dropped three of the last four games of the trip. The Lakers lost both games of a doubleheader against Seton Hill 6-3 and 3-2, followed by an 8-4 loss to West Chester. GVSU ended the trip on a high note with a 3-2 win over Pace.
In the first pair of games against Seton Hill, the Lakers (9-5) played uncharacteristically in the two losses. GVSU had a one-run lead heading into the final inning, but closer Matt Williams gave up four runs in the frame.
GVL / Emily Frye Junior Alex Young races to third base after a triple against Saginaw Valley State University on Saturday Mar. 26, 2016.
Last season, Williams broke the GVSU single-season record for saves and tied the NCAA Division II record with 32 saves. He finished the season with a minuscule 0.84 ERA.
The Lakers’ woes continued in the second half of the doubleheader when the defense committed five errors that led to all three Seton Hill runs. Alex Young hit a solo homerun in the third inning, but the Lakers fell short in a 3-2 loss.
Riding the first losing streak of the season, the Lakers dropped a third-game in a row to West Chester. The Rams jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. Austin LaDoux drove in two runs with a double in the sixth inning, but West Chester scored three more runs in the seventh inning to pull away.
“The good thing is that we are right there, and these are close games against some good teams,” Detillion said. “On a trip like this with heat you are not used to, it wears on you. As the week goes along, you wear down just a touch physically.”
The Lakers battled through the long trip in the last game to edge out Pace for a 3-2 win. Transfer Noah Lamboley received the call to be the stopper on the mound for the Lakers.
“I went in with the mindset that I wasn’t going to come out with a loss,” Lamboley said.
Lamboley pitched six innings of one-run ball to give way to the Lakers bullpen to shut the door.
“Everything happened to be working,” Lamboley said. “I was able to get a lot of pop flies and my defense came in big for me and made plays.”
The one run that Pace scored came in the fourth inning from a solo homerun. Lamboley rebounded and pitched two more scoreless frames.
“He really commands the plate well,” Detillion said. “He was working down except for one pitch, a solo shot. If that’s the only mistake he makes all game long, then he still pitched a pretty good game.”
With the game all square at one run apiece in the sixth inning, Brody Andrews scored Connor Glick on an RBI double followed by an RBI triple from Matt Williams.
Pace scored one run in the seventh inning before the Lakers handed the ball to Williams to close the game. Coming off of a loss, Williams returned back to form with four strikeouts in five batters faced to secure the win.
“I was just working down in the zone,” Williams said. “That’s what hurt me (against Seton Hill). I was leaving pitches up and they were hitting it. It felt good but that’s what is expected and the standard that we hold ourselves to.”
GVSU finished the trip with a 5-5 record. The Lakers have one more weekend series to shape into form before GLIAC play starts against Walsh Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26.
“Just the little things, the little minor details that add up throughout the course of the game that could potentially win or lose you a ball game,” Williams said. “We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times, and we know we can’t do that against teams in our conference because they will take advantage of them.”
The Lakers will travel to Westfield, Indiana to play a three-game series against Wisconsin-Parkside Saturday, March 18, at noon in the first game of a doubleheader. The third game will take place on Sunday, March 19, at noon.