PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The Storm stayed on a roll on Friday afternoon, winning their sixth and seventh consecutive games and doing so against a Grand Valley Lakers (Mich.) nine that went into the day ranked No. 7 in the nation (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association). Lake Erie won by scores of 3-2 and 7-5.
The Storm won both Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games in come-from-behind fashion. And they did so against a first-place Laker squad that went into the day 2-1/2 games in front of LEC. In the opener Lake Erie scored a tying run in the bottom of the sixth and the game-winner in the seventh. In the nightcap, LEC hit three home runs in bombing its way back from a 3-0 deficit.
Sean Mathews had two hits in the opener, a game that produced just 11 hits overall – six for GVSU and five for LEC. Pitching ruled the game, with starters Brad Raley and Aaron Jensen combining to limit batters to a 2-of-14 mark with runners in scoring position. Both starters went the route in a game that ended on a Laker error, their third of the game. In his seven innings, Raley allowed two earned runs on six hits. He fanned six without issuing a walk.
In the nightcap, Lou Peterlin hit two solo home runs and Aaron Lindgren launched a three-run homer, as the Storm powered their way back from a 3-0 first-inning deficit. Brian Kilway went the distance, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight base hits. He struck out six
The opener was a match-up of big junior right-handers. LEC's hurler – 6-foot-4 Brad Raley – worked out from under a two-base error in the top of the first. Raley stranded the one-out base runner by getting a pop up and then a strikeout against GVSU's No. 3 and No. 4 batters.
Raley's mound foe – 6-foot-6 Aaron Jensen – walked Lake Erie's leadoff man, Josh Hudeck, in the first, but he also escaped without allowing a run.
Raley wriggled out of another jam in the third, but three straight solid two-out at-bats by the visitors put two on the board for the Lakers in the fifth. In that Grand Valley fifth, the No. 9-, 1- and 2-batters went single-double-triple in crossing two across the plate.
The Storm managed to get one of those two runs back in their half of the fifth. A Dylan Yankle lead-off single set up that score, and the fifth was a second straight inning that saw LEC put pressure on Jensen.
Lake Erie would get its lead-off man aboard again in the bottom of the sixth. (For the game the Storm led off five1b innings by getting on base.) Jensen's long fourth and fifth innings perhaps worked against him in the balance of the LEC sixth. The lanky righty committed errors on the next two balls in play, and that set up a game-tying sacrifice fly by Rutger Luebke. But that would be the only damage for Jensen in a messy inning; he retired two straight batters with men at the corners.
Raley tossed a flawless, seven-pitch top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, shortstop Sean Mathews got aboard with one out. Then, with Mathews still at first and two out, Zack DeCamp lined a ball to left field that handcuffed the GVSU left fielder. The ball caromed away while Mathews scampered around the bags. Mathews slid home, popped up in a cloud of dust and was mobbed by a jubilant … and resilient … Lake Erie squad.
Brian Kilway started game two for Lake Erie and was rudely greeted by two early singles and then a three-run home run off the bat of Giancarlo Brugnoni. But Kilway got a double-play grounder to end that first inning, and that seemed to get him in gear. He went on to retire each of the next eight batters he faced.
LEC scored one in the third (a Lou Peterlin solo homer) and then get its own three-run home run – an Aaron Lindgren blast to center – to take a 4-3 lead in the fourth.
The Storm broke the game open somewhat with a three-spot in the bottom of the fifth. Lou Peterlin hit his second home run of the game leading off that Storm fifth. Hits by Josh Hudeck and Lucas Raley were split by a costly GVSU error, and the inning ended with LEC up four (7-3).
Grand Valley plated an unearned run in the sixth and then got a solo home run in the seventh to round out the game's scoring. Kilway did admirable work in avoiding big innings after the first. He held the Lakers to a 1-of-7 mark when leading off innings, so he worked almost exclusively with one-out-and-none-on
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