GVSU baseball splits home-opener doubleheader against Tiffin

GVL / Sheila Babbitt
Number 12, Nolan Anspaugh, bats at the home opener vs Tiffin on March 30th, 2018.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt Number 12, Nolan Anspaugh, bats at the home opener vs Tiffin on March 30th, 2018.

Brady McAtamney

As Opening Day in Major League Baseball was celebrated throughout the U.S. (and Ontario), the Grand Valley State baseball team finally made its way into Allendale for their first home series of the 2018 season.

The Lakers welcomed Tiffin University to the GVSU baseball field on Thursday, March 29, with a drubbing in game one of a doubleheader, defeating the Dragons 13-3 before starting up a 3-2 loss that had to be finished on Friday, March 30, due to darkness.

Winning their first home game of the season was vital for the Lakers, as they had little to no time spent on their diamond before Thursday because of winter weather and road trips down South.

“I think a big part of us progressing offensively is us taking batting practice on our field every day,” said head coach Jamie Detillion. “We’ve only been on our field four times so far this spring, which is tough because now we’re, what, 24-and-a-half? Twenty-four and six-sevenths of the way into the season, and we’ve only practiced on our field four times, so I think that’s a big part of gaining some momentum and some consistency is getting out here and making sure we’re taking good batting practice every day.”

The game started out as more of a pitching duel than anything, as the teams were tied at 3 heading into the seventh inning. On one side of the ball, GVSU’s Ryan Arnold spun seven innings, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned) while walking and striking out three. On the other side, the bats did not truly get going until Jacob Gleason hit a solo home run—his second dinger of the game—in the seventh inning.

GVSU would go on to score three runs in the seventh before nailing on seven in the eighth, thanks in part to Zach Berry’s two-run home run and Alex Mandeville’s grand slam.

Once that game concluded at 5 p.m., both teams prepped for game two of the doubleheader, which was slated to be only seven innings with each side hoping all seven would be squeezed in before the sun went down.

Josh C. Smith did his part in making sure the game would wrap up in a timely manner as the tall lefty hurled 3.1 innings of one-hit balls before being forced to exit the game with an arm injury. Brendan Nearing replaced him and went 1.2 innings with one run allowed on two hits with four strikeouts, handing off a 2-1 lead to Kyle Lawson.

Lawson did not pitch poorly in the sixth inning, as he allowed only one hit and one walk. Unfortunately for GVSU, the defense committed two costly errors, which allowed two unearned runs to come across, giving the Dragons their 3-2 advantage to close out Thursday.

Game two picked up on Friday at 12:30 p.m. (preceding yet another doubleheader), where the Lakers were unable to mount the short comeback and ultimately fell to Tiffin.