Pitching paces baseball in weekend sweep at Urbana

GVL / Archive
Senior baseball player Steve Anderson.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Senior baseball player Steve Anderson.

Brady Fredericksen

After struggling this spring, it appeared the Grand Valley State University baseball team’s pitchers would have to continue to brush off the rust as the season continued this weekend with a four-game series at Urbana University.

Thirty-eight strikeouts and four wins later, that rust appears to be fading fast.

The No. 11 Lakers (10-4) used strong performances from their entire pitching staff, including a complete-game three-hitter by senior Ryan Garman (1-2), to return home happy after the weekend sweep.

“Ryan in particular showed the form he showed last year, and we were sure he would come back and pitch that way this year,” said GVSU head coach Steve Lyon. “His velocity was up, command was great, he really dominated Urbana and when you get starting pitching like that, the whole game kind of seems a lot simpler.”

Garman’s early season struggles looked to have been left behind in Florida as the senior struck out 11 batters and walked only two in the win. Fellow senior Kyle Schepel (4-0) also posted a strong start, striking out nine in 6.2 innings of one-run ball.

“Sweeping the four games right away, that’s great,” Garman said. “Coming back here, we’re really starting to come together as a team and really starting to put it together – I’m really excited about the season.”

The Lakers’ “putting it together” was apparent Friday as they out-scored the Knights 11-2 while smacking 18 hits in their first double header of the weekend.

One of the team’s biggest strengths last season, the offensive attack was led by senior outfielder Steve Anderson, who recorded seven hits to go with six RBI, including a solo home run in Sunday’s series finale.

“He’s a key part of our offense and I hate to say as Steve goes, the offense goes, but you know, when he isn’t hitting the ball well we need to find some other guys to produce,” Lyon said. “It just seems like he’s a better hitter when other guys are on base.”

While the Lakers cruised in games one and two, inclement weather slowed their roll on Saturday, forcing the teams to take a break due to lightning. Despite the weather, junior Anthony Campanella teamed with seniors Brett Gwaltney and Cory Rademacher to lock up a 7-1 GVSU win.

“When we start playing eight to nine inning games, it’s hard for the starters to go all the way,” Rademacher said. “We need a solid bullpen because that’s whose going to be relied upon late in the season when you have to be your sharpest.”

The team will return home in preparation for their home and conference opener on Saturday against Lake Erie College at 1 p.m.

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