GVSU baseball goes 2-1 in three-game road trip to Wisconsin-Parkside

GVL / Emily Frye   
Junior Johnny Nate high fives his teammates between innings against Saginaw Valley State University on Saturday Mar. 26, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Junior Johnny Nate high fives his teammates between innings against Saginaw Valley State University on Saturday Mar. 26, 2016.

Josh Peick

In the last weekend before GLIAC play starts, the Grand Valley State baseball team won two of three games against Wisconsin-Parkside in Westfield, Indiana. The Lakers won the first two games 5-1 and 7-3 before dropping the last game 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel.

In a chilly first game Saturday, March 18, the Lakers (11-6) used a strong seven-inning outing from starting pitcher Jake Mason to grab the win in the series opener. Mason recorded only three strikeouts but allowed only one run on five hits.

“With weather that cold you really just have to get a grip for everything,” Mason said. “I just tried to locate on the outside part of the plate and let the fielders behind me work.”

Johnny Nate opened up the scoring for GVSU in the second inning with an RBI single. After Wisconsin-Parkside answered back in the third inning, the Lakers broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs. Austin LaDoux ripped a double down the right field line to score Ryan Blake-Jones.

In the first game of the Sunday, March 19 doubleheader, the Lakers got another strong outing from their pitchers. Ryan Arnold gave up only two earned runs in 4.2 innings before Noah Lamboley came into the game to shut the door. Lamboley got his third win in the final two-plus innings.

“Right now we have a few innings that have distorted our pitching numbers,” said GVSU coach Jamie Detillion. “When you look across the board, our pitching efficiency is pretty good.”

With a one-run lead heading into the final inning, the Lakers scored three runs to ensure a win. It all started with a solo homerun from LaDoux.

“I didn’t really get that pitch to drive and went into battle mode once I got two strikes,” LaDoux said. “I just tried to put a good swing on the ball and happened to get it.”

Following the homerun, Nate knocked in a run with a single before Connor Glick drove in two runs with a double to left center.

“We battled, we fought, we hung in there and in our last at bat we put up a few runs,” Detillion said. “We competed so that was good to see.”

In the last game of the weekend, the Lakers had a chance to tie the game with LaDoux on third base with two outs in the seventh inning. LaDoux decided to try to steal home on a passed ball, but the catcher recovered quickly and threw the ball to the pitcher at home plate to win the game.

GVSU’s Mitch Ashcraft got the tough-luck loss, giving up only one run in 4.2 innings of work.

“Thankfully we have a lot of JUCO transfers and also a lot of experience here with us from last year just a lot of guys that can pound the zone and locate,” Mason said. “We have about five, six, seven guys that can go out there and start any game and give us a good amount of innings.”

The Lakers could not capitalize on the strong outing from Ashcraft. The offense recorded only six hits throughout the game.

“We didn’t hit well enough to win,” Detillion said. “It’s tough to win games when you don’t score any runs.”

The loss marked the last game before the Lakers open up conference play against Walsh. GVSU will travel to Walsh for a pair of double headers Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26.

“We’re pretty confident,” LaDoux said. “We have a lot to work on but we know what we have to do to compete with conference teams.”