GVSU baseball goes 2-1 at regional crossover tournament

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Head Coach Jamie Detillion

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Head Coach Jamie Detillion

A.A. Knorr and Josh Peick

After four batters, the Grand Valley State baseball team had a lead in the first game of the Midwest Regional Baseball Crossover in Westfield, Indiana.

Jason Ribecky, GVSU’s cleanup hitter, belted a two-RBI triple, which plated Matt Williams and Josh Smith. The Lakers added another quick run to take a 3-0 lead over Indianapolis (13-5). It was plenty for starting pitcher Kyle Lawson, as the Lakers cruised to a 3-1 win in the tournament opener.

“We played one of our better games this year. I think that’s a good sign of what could be ahead of us,” said GVSU head coach Jamie Detillion.

GVSU (9-7-1) went 2-1 at the regional tournament, but had its first game against Lewis cancelled due to weather on March 19. The Lakers edged Drury 6-5, but fell 7-5 to Missouri S&T in the finale.

Despite GVSU’s explosive first inning in the opener against Indianapolis, the rest of game was quiet. Laker starter Kyle Lawson had a standout performance on the mound, tossing seven innings of five-hit ball. Lawson struck out four, walked three and allowed one run, though it was not earned.

“(Lawson) competed. He got into a couple of jams but got out of it, and in other innings he was dominant,” Detillion said.

Lawson struggled in his first outing of the season on Feb. 21, allowing eight runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings of work against Southern Indiana. Since then, however, Lawson is 3-0 and has settled into a groove.

GVSU got right back to it early on March 20, fending off Drury (8-13) just enough to secure the 6-5 win. The Lakers posted at least a run in each of the first three innings, and held a 4-1 lead after the third inning. In the top of the seventh, however, Drury quickly chased GVSU starter Josh Griffith, and smacked around reliever Troy Dykhuis to score four runs in the frame and take a 5-4 lead.

Drury’s lead didn’t last. In the bottom of the inning, junior Matt Williams smacked a two-run home run to score center fielder Keith Browning and give the Lakers a 6-5 lead. Williams later pitched a near-perfect ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season, as redshirt junior Tim Tarter got the win in relief.

The Lakers were denied a perfect trip, however, as Missouri S&T (13-5) beat GVSU 7-5. The Lakers, behind all game, gave the Miners a jolt in the ninth innings, scoring two runs and loading the bases. GVSU couldn’t quite close the gap, though, and took the loss to end the trip.

GVSU only had six hits, compared to the Miners’ 11. The Lakers committed three errors, as starter Zach Anderson was tagged for six runs, five of which were earned. Anderson dropped to 2-2 on the season.

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, the Lakers had the bases loaded with the go-ahead run on first base. Junior Joel Schipper hit a grounder in the infield, and Missouri S&T threw the ball away. Things looked promising for GVSU, until the umpires ruled that Williams, who was advancing to third base, interfered with the play. Williams was called out, and the game ended.

The Lakers scored two runs in the ninth inning despite not recording a hit, as they forced Missouri S&T’s Ethan Krenning to throw 27 pitches in the inning. Though discipline helped the Lakers late, it wasn’t necessarily a strong point throughout the weekend.

“The last game I wasted a few (at-bats) and I think a few other guys did too,” said catcher Connor Glick. “So we just got to be a little more scrappy at the plate.

The comeback fell short, but as a whole, the Lakers were pleased with the weekend.

“We still played pretty well,” Detillion said. “All in all we had a few mental breakdowns, lack of focus, a few errors here and there.”

GVSU will take to the diamond next with a two-day trip to Saginaw Valley State from March 25-26.