GVSU softball splits with Hillsdale, Wayne State in two doubleheaders

The Lakers' record now sits at 13-15 on the year

By Beau Troutman | 4/2/17 10:17pm

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Ellie Balbach (11) squares up and hits a home run. Grand Valley State squares off against Wayne State in the second game of the Midwest Super Regional tournament. The Lakers came out with the victory with a final score of 1-0 on Thursday, May 12, 2016 in Detroit, MI.
by Kevin Sielaff and Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State softball team hit the road for two GLIAC doubleheaders this weekend.

The Lakers took on the Hillsdale Chargers Saturday, April 1, winning the first game 8-2 but dropping the second 5-4. On Sunday, April 2, the Lakers played the Wayne State Warriors in a rematch of the 2016 Midwest Super Regionals, in which GVSU swept the Warriors to go on to the College World Series. GVSU lost a pitcher’s duel 1-0 in game one, but prevailed 4-0 in the nightcap and final game of the weekend.

The Lakers (13-15, 3-5 GLIAC) are 4-2 in their past six games after sweeping the Lewis Flyers in their home-opening doubleheader last week.

“We know that we’ve got some improving to do,” said GVSU coach Dana Callihan. “That’s what we’re trying to do each day; be better today than we were yesterday. That’s been our motto the last three years since I’ve been here as head coach. We’re starting to get some of the results of that.”

In the two games against Wayne State, GVSU allowed only one run in two games. The Lakers went up against reigning GLIAC Player of the Year and NFCA National Player of the Year Lyndsay Butler (13-5), who started on the mound in both games.

In the first matchup, sophomore ace Allison Lipovsky (5-3) took to the mound for GVSU. The Lakers went down 1-0 early off of an RBI single from the Warriors’ Brooke Turkalj in the bottom of the first inning. That would prove to be enough for the win, as the Lakers were unable to score any runs for the rest of the game.

Butler finished the game with four strikeouts and just four hits allowed over seven innings. Lipovsky finished with a complete game as well, notching 10 strikeouts and just three hits allowed, including the single earned run in the first.

“There’s nothing you can really do about game one,” Lipovsky said. “We just shook it off and went for game two.”

In the second game, the GVSU offense woke up and got on the board early with three runs in the bottom of the third thanks to a Wayne State fielding error with the bases loaded.

Senior Ellie Balbach, who was also the starting pitcher, hit a ball to shallow left field that was misplayed by the Warriors’ outfielder, allowing GVSU’s Janae Langs, Teagan Shomin and Jenna Lenza to round the bases and score. WSU’s Butler was pulled after the third and Megan Guitar came in for relief for the rest of the game.

Balbach was able to protect the lead, and the Lakers tacked on another run in the fourth thanks to a Langs RBI single. Balbach (3-7) finished the night with six strikeouts and just two hits allowed in seven innings of action and went 2-for-2 at the plate. Balbach is 2-1 in her last three starts.

“Lyndsay Butler pitched the whole first game and I think we knew what to expect going into the second game,” Balbach said. “I think that helped us score three runs off of her. Once they brought in the second pitcher, we had the same mentality: Just hit the ball.”

In the first game of the weekend against Hillsdale Saturday, the Lakers won 8-2 after scoring six in the second inning alone. Shomin, Balbach, sophomore Shannon Flaherty and freshman Kelcie LaTour each had two RBIs. Senior Jenna Lenza was a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate and helped GVSU outhit the Chargers 17-5 as a team. Lipovsky picked up the win, recording six strikeouts and four walks over seven innings.

In the second game Saturday, the Lakers had a runner in scoring position trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh. However, the game ended on a groundout, cementing the final score and ending the day in a split. Balbach took the loss after giving up five earned runs off of 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Junior Courtney Reinhold came in for relief, pitching 1.2 innings. She allowed two hits.

Lenza led the way, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Junior Jessica Ramos, senior Kelsey Dominguez and LaTour each added an RBI. The latter two players and Shomin each had two hits.

The Lakers will travel to Rensselaer, Indiana for a doubleheader with St. Joseph’s College Wednesday, April 5. The first game is set to start at 3 p.m.

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