Photo courtesy of Francisco Gonzalez.
Flyers relief pitcher George Manikas fires a heater towards the plate.
Over the weekend of March 16, Flyers baseball finished 1-3 against Grand Valley State University (GVSU) during their first four home games at Brennan Field.
Grand Valley took the first game of the series on Friday March 16 by a score of 5-2. After the Lakers climbed out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Flyers senior outfielder Ethan Bloom ripped an RBI single to right. The Flyers narrowed the margin to one run, but the Lakers added two more runs in the fifth, and Lewis was unable to catch up.
With the score tied at three entering the ninth inning of the Saturday March 17 contest, GVSU took advantage of defensive mental mistakes from their counterparts. Following a leadoff single and a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt, runners stood on first and second with no outs.
The Lakers opted to play small ball, executing another sacrifice bunt that lead to an RBI groundout. Another Laker crossed the plate after a wild pitch, adding to the final score of 5-2.
“Executing a few fundamental things, like getting outs on bunts, has bitten us a few times this year,” said head coach Tim McDonough. “They put pressure on us and we just didn’t make the plays.”
Despite dropping the first two ballgames, Lewis’ offense proved it can be electric when clicking during Sunday March 18 doubleheader. Trailing 10-5 heading into the sixth inning, the Flyers put together a hitting frenzy.
Bloom kicked off the rally with a two-run double to center, which was followed by two separate RBI singles. Freshman infielder Anthony Cavalieri then lined a two-run triple to center, which tied the game. Cavalieri scored the game-winning run.
“We’ve been waiting for that moment all year,” said McDonough. “We chipped away inning by inning, and that got the hit-parade going.”
However, Lewis dropped the second game of the day 7-4, largely due to a fourth inning four-run surge by the Lakers. Following the weekend’s action, the Flyers record now sits at 6-11.
Junior outfielder Brandon Post currently leads the Flyers with a .352 average, while junior Connor Rutherford has blasted a team-high five homeruns. Junior starting pitcher Blake Marks has been a model of consistency thus far, currently holding a 3.00 ERA with 18 strikeouts.
McDonough believes a tougher mentality from his team going forward will lead to more consistent results. “Toughness is a hard thing to measure, but we can be a pretty formidable team if we make the simple plays,”said McDonough.
Lewis will host IU Kokomo Tuesday, March 28 at 3 p.m.