GVSU baseball splits cold-weather doubleheader against Purdue Northwest

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Sawyer Chambers (21) throws a pitch during the game vs. Lewis University on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – Sawyer Chambers (21) throws a pitch during the game vs. Lewis University on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

Brady McAtamney

It is officially spring now. But if you were outside this past weekend, you would have never known.

Nobody is feeling the sting of the cold wind in their faces more than the members of the Grand Valley State baseball team, which split a doubleheader against the Purdue Northwest Pride on Saturday, March 24. PNW took the first game 3-1 before the Lakers found their groove, taking the second matchup 6-0 on a dull, windy, 34-degree afternoon in Indiana.

“It’s one of the coldest games so far between today and yesterday. Those games are hard: cold, windy, just tough days to hit on,” said head coach Jamie Detillion. “It’s tough for us in these kinds of weather conditions because it doesn’t even resemble regular baseball. You’ve got to get through these elements, and you’ve got to be basically perfect, and sometimes guys can’t feel their hands, their fingertips or whatever, and it’s easy to make a mistake.”

Unfortunately for GVSU, mistakes are exactly what cost them in game one as they committed three errors, helping the Pride score three unearned runs.

Pitcher Blake Dahlstrom took the loss despite a solid stat line, throwing six innings with only two hits and two walks while striking out four and allowing zero earned runs.

The Lakers had trouble getting on base, too, as they only netted four hits while drawing three walks.

“The wind is blowing straight in; it’s cold, it’s windy,” Detillion said. “We’ve got to do a better job of playing with what the game offers us. We try to create and do too much. The elements don’t provide an opportunity for it, so it’s important for us to stay with a quality approach and go with what the game gives you, and it’s not always hitting the long ball, unfortunately.”

Game two was different as GVSU played like the all-around better team. They committed zero errors and got eight hits to PNW’s one, all while getting a second complete game on the day from their starter Josh D. Smith.

Five of the Lakers’ six runs came in the third inning with four straight hitters collecting hits with two outs following a pair of walks by Josh C. Smith and Nolan Anspaugh. Zach Berry, Jacob Gleason and Ryan Blake-Jones each drove in one run with singles before Austin LaDoux’s two-run triple capped off the big inning.

“I think it’s all a learning process with conditions like that,” Detillion said. “Getting through it, at some point we learned from our frustration of not producing results, and sometimes you’ve got no other option that says to stick to an approach that hasn’t been working. When things aren’t working, you try to change things up. Fortunately, that third inning of the second game, we learned how to stick to a quality approach.”

Not to be lost in the offensive demonstration is the performance given by Smith on the mound. The junior spun seven scoreless innings for a complete game shutout while surrendering only one hit and three walks.

After the Lakers finished their weekend series against the Pride with a 9-0 victory Sunday, March 25, their overall record now stands at 13-10 (2-2 GLIAC). GVSU will finally get a chance to play at home with four matchups against Tiffin from Thursday, March 29, through Saturday, March 31.