GVSU baseball beats Ashland in two games for first sweep in over a month

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Tate Brawley (22) and Connor Glick (16) fist bump at the mound after closing out an inning during the game vs. Ashland on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – Tate Brawley (22) and Connor Glick (16) fist bump at the mound after closing out an inning during the game vs. Ashland on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

Josh Peick

After splitting five consecutive doubleheaders, the Grand Valley State baseball team swept Ashland in an afternoon doubleheader Wednesday, April 12. The Lakers won the opening game 8-2 followed by a 14-5 in the nightcap.

The Lakers (19-13, 7-7 GLIAC) wasted no time jumping out to a lead in the first game by scoring five runs in the first inning. Ashland gave the Lakers three extra outs with three errors in the frame.

GVSU took advantage of the extra outs starting with a two-run single from third baseman Austin Ladoux. The Lakers scored one run after an error on a Connor Glick groundball. To score the last two runs of the inning, Keith Browning hit a two-run single through the right side.

“That just set the tone for the day,” said GVSU coach Jamie Detillion. “We had some of the best practices we’ve had all year yesterday. We were able to break some video down, take a look at some things and figure out some reasons why results are happening a certain way.”

GVSU pitcher Tate Brawley gave up two runs in the third inning but settled down after finishing the inning. He continued to pitch a complete game with six strikeouts and zero walks in seven innings of work.

In only his second start of the season, Brawley paired up with catcher Glick for his best performance of the year.

“Me and Conner went to high school together so we know each other really well,” Brawley said. “We just worked together, mixed up pitches and worked backwards.”

After GVSU’s lead was cut to three-runs, the Lakers answered back with two runs in the fourth inning. Matt Williams hit a two-run single up the middle to take the momentum back.

As Brawley cruised through the final four innings, GVSU added an insurance run on a solo homerun by Alex Young.

Finding consistency from game to game has been an issue for the team, but the Lakers continued the momentum with two runs in the first inning of the second game. Seth Johnson hit an RBI single before Anthony Villar added an RBI base knock two batters later.

“(I was) just attacking fastballs,” Villar said. “This week we focused all of our hitting on just hitting the fastball early in the count.”

Starting pitcher Noah Lamboley gave the Lakers another quality start allowing only one run through the first six innings. He got in trouble in the seventh inning, allowing two homeruns for three runs, but with a six-run lead it did not affect the outcome of the game.

“You can look at the scoreboard and say ‘three runs, that was a tough inning,’ but Lamboley threw outstanding for six (innings),” Detillion said. “If that’s our biggest downfall, we are in good shape.”

With six games this week, two quality starts from Brawley and Lamboley saves the Lakers’ bullpen for the weekend.

“They gave us a chance not only to compete and win today which that was the first job at hand, but it puts us in good shape for this weekend with pitching,” Detillion said.

Similar to the first game, the Lakers answered back with two runs in the bottom of seventh and five runs in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach.

With runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth inning, Detillion and Williams talked about the possibility of Williams bunting in this situation.

“We thought about bunting with the scenario, but I certainly trust him,” Detillion said. “He said ‘I’d rather swing but whatever it takes for the team,’ and that was a good answer so I let him swing.”

The move worked. Williams mashed a three-run homerun down the left field line to put the game out of reach.

The homerun marked 22 runs scored for the Lakers in two games while giving up only seven runs.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” Detillion said. “It’s just offense building off of good defense followed by good pitching. All three facets of the game were pretty solid today.”

For the first time since the first weekend of the season in February, the Lakers completed a doubleheader sweep. With the two wins, the Lakers jumped two spots into sixth place in the GLIAC.

“It just gives us a lot of momentum going into this weekend,” Villar said. “These final 18 games are really big for us where we sit in the GLIAC.”

The Lakers will travel to Painesville, Ohio for a four-game series against Lake Erie starting Saturday, April 14.