GV Baseball sweeps double-header, prepares for GLIAC play


Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University baseball team (15-7) traveled to Columbus, Ohio for a three-game series against Ohio Dominican University (8-14) on Mar. 25-26. On Thursday, the team dropped the first game 11-2.

“Ohio Dominican is better than their record shows,” coach Jamie Detillion said. “Their pitcher in game one pitched well; we traveled for six hours, which is our longest trip. We didn’t play well on Thursday.”

The team bounced back on Friday, sweeping the double-header, winning 9-3 and 12-4.

“We played with a renewed energy on Friday,” Detillion said. “It’s a big plus to win non-conference games; to win two of three is great and winning every series is a realistic priority. I like where (the team) is headed.”

In game one, the team allowed nine runs in the first two innings alone and 11 total, while only being able to muster two runs of their own on five hits. While the outcome didn’t go the way the team wanted it to, junior centerfielder Spencer Nelson went 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Redshirt freshman pitcher Allan Thorington allowed a run on three hits while striking out three Panthers over five innings on the hill.

In game one of the double-header and game two of the series, the team came out swinging. With a 1-0 lead going into the third inning and the bases loaded, senior shortstop Christian Faust emptied them, hitting a three-RBI double to break the game open. This was all the team needed, as sophomore starting pitcher Austin Brown pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out eight batters en route to his third win of the young season.

The offense was humming, as the first seven batters in the lineup had a hit. Nelson led the team going 3-5 with a double, redshirt freshman Justin Mansager went 3-4, junior designated hitter Carter Smith drove in three runs, while Faust had four RBIs of his own.

The final game of the series and the latter half of the double header yielded more of the same, as GVSU took the lead early and never gave it back. Sophomore first baseman Nathan Logan began the scoring barrage with a two-run single in the first. In the third, Faust made the lead 5-2 after launching a two-run home run into left field. After adding three more runs over the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, sophomore catcher Zach Collins mashed a three-run home run to left-center, extending the lead to 11-3, ending any hopes the Panthers had of a comeback. Redshirt freshman Collin Bradley picked up his fourth win of the season after allowing no runs on two hits and striking out four batters across three innings of work.

Over the course of the series, many players had standout performances. Faust delivered nine total RBIs over the course of the double-header, finishing 5-8 in those two games. He raised his RBI total to 31 on the season. 

“Chris has outstanding practice habits,” Detillion said. “He backs it with his leadership and his communication with his teammates. He knows the game very well and is a huge asset to our team.”

Nelson played very well throughout the entirety of the series. Over the three games, he went 7-15, improving his season batting average to .323, with two doubles to give him 10 on the season. He said that his consistency was the not the key component in the wins.

“My successes are only as good as my teammates’,” Nelson said. “Our whole lineup has been providing for us — everybody showed up. We all have the intent to get on base and we won the series.”

Nelson, who was unable to play last season, says his mindset this season is similar to what it was last season.

“Last season I was always keeping up with the team; I expected them to do good,” Nelson said. “We’re dangerous and very versatile in every way. I expect us to exceed expectations and I expect nothing less from my teammates. I expect us to compete well and go far this season.”

Pitching wise, senior closer Nick Shaw had another stellar outing. He struck out the side in order in one inning of work in the 12-4 win. On the season, Shaw boasts a 0.96 ERA a WHIP of 0.64, three saves and 22 total strikeouts in 9.1 innings.

Coming off of two straight road victories, the team returns home to open GLIAC conference play. On Apr. 1-3, the team will host Purdue-Northwest University (10-5) for a three-game set.

“We always want to win at home and obviously in conference play,” Detillion said. “We want to not only start games well, but finish them well too; a good start helps, but our resolve this season has been outstanding. We need to continue to be consistent and keep working our tails off in practice.”