GVSU baseball captures six wins during Florida trip

GVL / Luke Holmes -  Josh Smith (9) steps up to the plate. GVSU Mens Baseball faced off against Ohio Dominican in a double header on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

GVL / Luke Holmes – Josh Smith (9) steps up to the plate. GVSU Men’s Baseball faced off against Ohio Dominican in a double header on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Kellen Voss

While most of the student body spent their spring break catching up on sleep, drowning in work or getting sunburned somewhere tropical, the Grand Valley State baseball team had a rather productive break in Kissimmee, Florida. The Lakers went 6-3 over the break, including a five-game win streak to improve their overall record to 8-7.

Over the course of seven days, the Lakers competed in nine contests against non-GLIAC opponents, including two doubleheaders Wednesday, March 7, and Saturday, March 10.

GVSU kicked off the Diamond 9 Events Kissimmee Road Trip with an impressive 10-6 win over the Seton Hill Griffins on Monday, March 5. The Lakers tallied 13 hits in the win, including three hits and four RBIs from first baseman Ryan Blake-Jones.

The Lakers kept the winning going the following day, as they beat the Rockhurst Hawks 9-7. Five Lakers had multiple hits in the game, including freshman Nolan Anspaugh, who had two RBIs and a triple. Shortstop Ricky Clark also homered in the game.

The next day, the Lakers picked up two more wins, conquering the Tritons of Missouri-St. Louis 8-6 in the 11 a.m. game and then 7-3 in the 2 p.m. game. The Lakers proved to be clutch in the first game with six of their eight runs coming with two outs in their respective innings. Blake-Jones and catcher Austin LaDoux combined for five RBIs and four runs scored in the contest.

The Lakers used that clutch play and momentum to propel them to their second win on Wednesday. Blake Dahlstrom picked up his first win of the season, only allowing three hits over five innings while striking out 11 batters. Brendan Nearing also got the last three outs, earning his first save in 2018.

The fifth-straight win came easily for GVSU the next day, as they destroyed one of their Midwest rivals, the Cedarville Yellow Jackets, 16-2. The Lakers held the Yellow Jackets scoreless in the first seven innings, thanks to a dominant four innings from Christian Mercure. Blake-Jones hit his second homer of the season in the game, and big doubles came from Jacob Gleason, Alex Mandeville and Drake Ellens.

The winning streak was snapped the next day when GVSU played Rockhurst again, losing 2-3. The Lakers struggled to get on base in the game, only collecting two hits as the Hawks beat them in extra innings.

GVSU started off their final weekend of the trip with another doubleheader, this time facing the University of Slippery Rock. They won the opening game 5-2, as Ryan Arnold picked up his third win for the season on the mound. The Lakers capitalized on a pair of Slippery Rock errors in the fifth, racking up four runs in the inning and securing the win.

The same could not be said for the second game of the doubleheader, as the Lakers took the 7-2 loss hard. GVSU did not play well in the field, racking up three errors and only five hits in the game. Hits from Ansbaugh and LaDoux garnered GVSU some momentum in the fourth, but the seven-run deficit was ultimately too much to handle.

The Lakers limped to the finish line in their final game on Sunday, losing to the defending champion West Chester Rams 13-4. Helping secure the loss, Travis Keys gave up six runs, although only one of them was earned and he only allowed one hit. West Chester scored all 13 runs in their first five innings and never looked back.

After spring break, the Lakers sit at 8-7 as conference play gets closer and closer. Despite being above .500, GVSU sits alone in sixth place in the GLIAC.

The Lakers look to improve upon their record next weekend, as they travel to Romeoville, Illinois, for games with the Lewis Flyers (5-7). They play Friday, March 16, at 4 p.m. before a doubleheader Saturday, March 17, with games at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. They end the weekend with a noon matchup Sunday, March 18.