GVSU baseball sweeps Northwood

GVL / Emily Frye    
Senior Jason Ribecky steps up to the plate against Northwood University on Wednesday April 13, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Senior Jason Ribecky steps up to the plate against Northwood University on Wednesday April 13, 2016.

A.A. Knorr

Zach Anderson didn’t need a lot of help. The Laker senior pitcher dealt six innings of one-hit ball in a complete game performance for a 3-0 win in the first game of Grand Valley State’s doubleheader against Northwood.

Starting pitcher Sawyer Chambers needed a little more help in game two. His offense was up to the task. The Lakers scored runs in the first five innings en route to a 9-7 victory to pull off the doubleheader sweep.

“We did really well, especially coming off a tough loss against Wayne State,” said second baseman Josh Smith. “We came back and strung together double-digit hits in both games. Everybody seemed a lot more locked in today.”

Northwood (14-12-0, 4-4-0 GLIAC) and GVSU (16-10-1, 7-3-0 GLIAC) had similar records, both in and out of conference, heading into the doubleheader in Allendale on April 13. GVSU ripped 11 hits in the first game, and 19 in the second, earning a key conference sweep.

The Timberwolves were thoroughly tamed in game one. Alex Young got GVSU out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, singling to right field to score Matt Williams. In the fourth inning, Young doubled home Smith and scored off a Connor Glick single two batters later.

The first game was a seven-inning affair, and as the home team, GVSU only came to bat six times. Despite this, the Lakers tallied 11 hits. Despite this, the Lakers only scored three runs.

“Sometimes you just get singles and runners just get trapped on base. It’s one of those things,” Smith said. “In the second game you could definitely tell that we were situationally a lot better. We hit a lot better with runners in scoring position.”

Anderson (3-3) cruised from start to finish, tossing a full seven innings, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out eight. He was efficient, tossing just 86 pitches all game. Northwood, on the other hand, used five pitchers in the game. No Northwood pitcher threw more than two full innings.

“Today I threw a lot of fastballs and I was spotting them up really well,” Anderson said. “I didn’t really use much offspeed, it was mainly just going to the fastball. I was spotting it up and they weren’t really swinging at it, and when they did it was running away from them or down into a righty. They were just missing barrels.”

In the nightcap, GVSU scored all nine of its runs in the first four innings. Chambers, on the mound for the Lakers, gave the Timberwolves a few back early. Northwood scored three runs in the first three innings, and put up a four-spot in the fifth. Chambers threw four plus innings, and was tagged with all seven runs, six of which were earned. Tim Tarter, Brett Nearing and Matt Williams combined for five innings of scoreless relief for the Lakers.

Following Northwood’s outburst in the top of the fifth, no more runs were scored in the nine-inning affair. Both bullpens kept opposing offenses off the board, and Williams picked up a two-inning save for his ninth of the season.

Smith had four hits for the Lakers in game two and Williams had three, including a lumberjack double that smacked high on the left field fence. Jason Ribecky and Johnny Nate both picked up two RBIs for GVSU in the win. Seven Lakers in total drove in runs.

“We won three out of four in the last three days, so very happy with that,” said GVSU head coach Jamie Detillion. “This is in-division, in-conference, so those are the priority for us right now, to make sure that we focus and make sure we do everything we can to win those games.”

The Lakers committed just one error in the doubleheader, and strong defense aided GVSU pitchers. Young, in center field, made a number of sprawling catches, racing to liners and fly balls sent his way.

“I thought there was a good handful of guys that made some good defensive plays,” Detillion said. “(Young) has really been coming along nicely. That’s the player we thought we were recruiting. He had a slower start at the beginning of the season, now he’s playing like we thought he would, so it’s good to see him work his butt off in practice to put himself in that position.”

GVSU will host pair of doubleheaders against Walsh (16-14-0, 7-3-0 GLIAC) on April 16 and 17.