The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV softball drops game one of DH, wins game two at Ferris State

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

The Grand Valley State University Laker Softball (20-7, 3-1) team split their afternoon doubleheader against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) rival Ferris State University Bulldogs (14-17, 2-4) as both games ended with a narrow 2-1 final score.

GVSU won one game of a doubleheader with the Lewis University Flyers 8-5 and lost the second game 2-1 on Wednesday, March 27. Following those games, the Lakers and head coach Dana Callihan hoped for two complete victories on Friday, March 29.

Callihan said that after Wednesday’s game against Lewis, the Lakers focused on “adjusting to what the pitchers are throwing so we can start executing better and getting some more runs on the board.”

Game one was a pitching duel from the get go. Lakers freshman pitcher Kylie Swierkos got the start in the circle  and did not allow a hit in the first two innings of play. She was matched by Bulldogs junior pitcher Aryn Gallacher, who was just as dominant.

After two empty innings, Ferris State got the scoring going in the third, scoring the first run of the game on an error by the Lakers to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs went up 2-0 later in the inning off of an RBI single to center field.

It took until the sixth inning for the Lakers to plate a run, where sophomore right fielder Jenna Ballard knocked a two-out single to left field to drive in senior outfielder Hannah Hollister to pull the Lakers within one.

Swierkos pitched a one, two, three bottom of the sixth, giving the Lakers a chance to even the score up in the top of the seventh. After a one-out Liberti Fair single in the seventh, the Lakers could not string any scoring together, losing the first matchup of the doubleheader 2-1.

After struggling in game one, GVSU junior shortstop Morgan Spicer knew that both her and her team needed to stay focused going into the second matchup.

“We have to keep a short term memory, wiping the slate clean and stay positive,” Spicer said. “Even though we struggled, knowing we can go in there and attack the next pitches in front of us and being confident (is important).”

Doing just that, Spicer and the Lakers strung some hits together in the fourth inning when she hit a two-out single to right. Flair followed that up with a monster double to left center, driving in Spicer who scored standing up from first base.

Lakers’ starting pitcher for game two, senior Genesis Eggart, battled in the bottom half of the inning as the Bulldogs loaded the bases with one-out. Eggart pitched her way out of the jam, keeping the Lakers up by one.

In the fifth inning the Lakers bats stayed hot. Hollister laid down a bunt with one out and beat the throw to first base. The next batter, senior third baseman Megan Koeningshof, singled to advance Hollister. This was followed by a Ballard infield single that loaded the bases. But, like the Bulldogs, the Lakers left the bases loaded and failed to capitalize.

This opened the door for Ferris State to even things up in the bottom of the sixth. There, a Bulldogs’ single scored an unearned run that tied the game 1-1.

Neither team scored in the seventh as Eggart retired all three of the Bulldogs’ hitters in order to send the game to extra innings.

Spicer got her third hit of the game in the top of the eighth. She launched a lead off triple to right field to get into scoring position with no outs. She was driven home two batters later when sophomore second baseman MaryJane Goodman singled up the middle to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead.

Eggart, who dominated all afternoon, came back out in the bottom of the eighth to close out the Bulldogs. This secured a 2-1 Lakers win. She threw 127 pitches in the outing.

After a dominant performance from Eggart, Spicer said the team needs to do a better job at giving their pitchers run support.

“Our pitchers have played phenomenal and it was nice to give them that back up in the second game,” Spicer said. “I think moving forward we have to do a better job of getting things moving in the entire lineup to give them better backup out there.” 

Callihan said she was happy the Lakers pulled out game two, but she agrees the Lakers need to play better if they want to accomplish their season goals.

“We left the door open for them today, we have to learn how to finish these types of games,” Callihan said. “We just have to put all the pieces together and we didn’t do that to the level that we needed to today to win both. But we will keep working on it”.

The Lakers will play their 2024 home opener on Thursday, April 2 against Hillsdale College with first pitch of the doubleheader scheduled for 3 p.m. at the GVSU Softball Field in Allendale, Michigan.

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