Pitching staff leads GVSU baseball to home-opener victory over Lewis

Robbie Triano

Having played every single game on the road so far this season, the Grand Valley State men’s baseball team couldn’t be happier to play at their home diamond against Lewis Wednesday, March 29.

The Lakers’ (13-9) defense committed three errors, but GVSU’s pitching only needed two runs to seal the deal, collectively striking out 10 batters and collecting a 2-1 home-opening victory over the Lewis Flyers. The cloudy and windy weather conditions didn’t rain on the home-opening parade for head coach Jamie Detillion.

“The weather feels a little bit warmer when you win,” Detillion said.

Pitcher Tate Brawley pitched in relief to grab his third win of the season. Brawley entered the game in the fifth, pitching 2.2 innings and striking out four.

“Our team just grinds,” Brawley said. “We always try to find ways to win, and today was one of those days.”

The Lakers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after catcher Connor Glick grounded out to the shortstop, scoring right-fielder Alex Young. Glick is tied for second on the team in RBIs with 15.

Starting pitcher Sawyer Chamber only allowed one hit through the first three innings, but Lewis tied the game 1-1 after a walk and an error by the centerfielder that scored a runner in the top of the fourth. Chamber regained his composure shortly thereafter, inducing a ground ball double play to end the inning.

After giving up two hits and a walk to load the bases, Chamber’s night came to the end in the top of the sixth. Chamber tossed 5.1 innings, recording three strikeouts but allowing one run off five hits.

Brawley came in for relief with one out and the bases loaded. Brawley’s fastball and location struck out the next two batters, ending the scoring threat by Lewis. Brawley said he is no stranger to pressure situations.

“I came in and trusted my stuff and my catcher (Glick) and focused on just throwing strikes,” Brawley said. “I’ve been in big situations before so I remained calm.”

Energized by Brawley’s performance, the Lakers tacked on the game-winning run on a Glick line-drive double to left center, which scored Young from first base. Glick finished the day 1-for-4 with the only two RBIs of the game for GVSU.

Closer Matt Williams earned his fifth save of the season after he struck out the side in the top of the ninth, clinching the Lakers’ first home victory of the season.

Although the Lakers allowed three runs and only recorded five hits, coach Detillion had some good—and bad—takeaways from the team’s win.

“We’ve had moments this year where we let one mistake turn into another, and now we’ve started to learn how to overcome them,” Detillion said. “It was a really well-pitched game with timely hits by our guys.

“But not much hitting has been going on, and that’s the story that we need to fix.”

Glick agreed with his coach about his team’s recent hitting struggles.

“We need to hit a lot better,” Glick said. “We have the best nine hitters, and I would take them over any other team we play. We should have no problem putting up 10 runs easily each game.”

The Lakers start a four-game weekend series against GLIAC rival Tiffin, with a doubleheader Saturday, April 1, and another one Sunday, April 2. With their next stretch of games against GLIAC opponents, Brawley said his team will need to motivate each other to get better.

“We just need to be on each other’s backs all game, all the time, all nine innings,” Brawley said. “If we keep grinding for wins like today, we’ll be alright.”