Pitching dominates as Lakers continue their winning ways

GVL / Archive / Robert Mathews

Kevin Zak at bat during a game last season.

Robert Mathews

GVL / Archive / Robert Mathews Kevin Zak at bat during a game last season.

Bryce Derouin

While it may be early in the GLIAC season, the Grand Valley State University men’s baseball team is already showing signs of dominance within the conference.

GVSU (12-8, 6-1 GLIAC) used strong pitching performances from senior Kyle Teague, and freshman Patrick Kelly to take both games in the doubleheader on Saturday, winning 3-0 and 9-1 over the University of Findlay.

The game marks GVSU’s sixth win in their first seven conference games.

“Anytime you win both games that you play, it’s a good day,” said GVSU head coach Jamie Detillion. “We came out, and guys were prepared. Pitching came out, threw strikes and competed, which was very encouraging as a coach. Anytime they can pound the strike zone like they did, they obviously give us a chance to win.”

Teague (3-0) set the tone for GVSU in the first game, going six innings, while only allowing three hits and one walk. It marked the third consecutive win for Teague in as many starts.

“The last couple outings he’s had, he’s been dominating,” Detillion said. “He’s always had good stuff. Early in the season, I think he was just trying to figure out. He’s just trying to get back in the swing of things after a year off. He’s really come out with some fire the past few outings.”

Teague spent the 2012 season on the sidelines with a redshirt, due to the NCAA transfer rules. He previously attended Valdosta State University before he began his stint at GVSU.

“It’s just getting comfortable again and getting in the flow again,” Teague said. “It took me a little bit of a while to get back to myself. I felt like I was never gonna play again and finally the season got here, and I wasn’t too happy with my first start, but coming out and throwing some good games feels good.”

In the nightcap, Findlay pushed across an early run in the bottom of the first to give them an early lead, but GVSU would come back and win 9-1 behind the arm of Kelly (2-2), who went six innings and allowed five hits and the one run. He also managed to strike out eight batters, which is a season-high for GVSU pitchers.

The Laker offense was fueled by sophomore Jesse Abel, who carried over the momentum from his game-winning hit against Hillsdale College, into the weekend against Findlay.

In his only plate appearance in the first game, Abel drove in a run on an RBI single to pad GVSU’s lead and give them a 2-0 advantage. That was a sign of things to come for later in the day, as Abel went 2-for-3 with one run, three RBI, a walk, and a homerun in the second game.

“I’m just trying to see a lot of pitches,” Abel said. “I’m really just trying to put good swings on the ball, and today it worked out well. You always hear about hard work pays off, but I really think I’m a spitting image of that. I feel like I have put my time in and I’m just ready to show it.”

After winning six of their last seven contests, Detillion has seen progress from his team, but isn’t ready to say they are where they need to be.

“We’re definitely making progress,” he said. “It’s too early to tell. I just want us to keep playing well and focus on the day-to-day stuff and I think because of the talent we have, and the way guys work in practice, I definitely think we will be in good shape.”

GVSU wrapped up their trip to Findlay on Saturday with a nine-inning contest scheduled for noon. They’ll have their first home contest of the season this Tuesday when they host Tiffin University at 1 p.m.
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