Baseball club loses spring season opener

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#22 Kyle Bloom

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #22 Kyle Bloom

Mark Washburn

The Grand Valley State club baseball team lost a nine-inning contest to Cornerstone University’s varsity team, 14-4, on Saturday afternoon in Grand Rapids, Mich.

For GVSU, it had been a long layoff without playing a game outdoors, so getting back on the field for some live action was a good feeling despite the loss.

“We started off a little rusty but it felt great to get back out there,” said coach Michael Tagliavia. “We saw a lot of good things.”

Scoring started in the top of the second when GVSU rattled off three hits in a row. Freshman Eddy Neumann supplied the third hit, driving in the first run of the game. Junior catcher Derek Verbruggen scored next on a passed ball, and a groundout drove in the third run of the game shortly thereafter.

In the bottom of the second, Cornerstone capitalized on a few Grand Valley State miscues to even the game at 3-3, but the GVSU starters were going toe-to-toe with Cornerstone early on.

“I was really happy with the way our starters played,” Tagliavia said. “That’s a good team, and they’re an NAIA team. It’s great for us to play a team of this level.

“Our starters could hang with these guys, and I think our starters will play well for the rest of the season.”

In the top of the third, senior Kyle Bloom hit a stand-up triple.

“They got two strikes on me, then left the pitch high, my swing felt good and I hit the ball into the gap,” Bloom said.

Following the triple, senior Karl Brecht drove Bloom home to give the Lakers a 4-3 advantage heading into the bottom of the third, but it was GVSU’s last lead of the game.

The Golden Eagles tied the game by scoring a run in the bottom of the third, and used a pair of five-run outbursts in the fifth and seventh innings to wrap up the 14-4 final score.

“Cornerstone is a good team,” said sophomore pitcher Michael Michalski. “They know how to hit and be disciplined at the plate, so that forces us pitchers to focus more on hitting our spots.

“It was good to get back out on the mound for some live-game action. It was cold, so you have to keep the arm warm, but it was good to see live hitters and good to see new hitters instead of our guys who we practiced against all winter.”

GVSU returns to the diamond this weekend to host a three-game series against Michigan Tech.