PAINESVILLE, Ohio – With the help of a six-run fourth inning and bouncing back from being swept on Saturday, Lake Erie defeated Wayne State (Mich.), 6-5, on Sunday to lay claim to 1-of-3 games on the weekend.
Aaron Lindgren and Sean Mathews each went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the match-up of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pennant contenders. Heath Kelley (six innings) and Brandon Gruna (three) combined to hold up LEC's six-spot and produce the victory at Braggs Field. The Warriors (31-12, 19-8 GLIAC) made things interesting at the end, scoring four runs over the game's eighth and ninth innings.
Kelley worked in and around allowing singles in each of the first three frames. He then pitched a 1-2-3 top-of-the-fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, the Storm offense exploded for six runs, their most in a single inning since March 22.
Lake Erie got six hit in that fourth inning, including doubles off the bats of Zack DeCamp and Dylan Yankle. Five different batters collected RBIs in the rally that put LEC up, 6-0. Wayne State answered with a solo run on an RBI double by Griffin Harms.
The score would remain 6-1 until WSU got two off reliever Brandon Grunda in the top of the eighth.
Attempting to pull out a three-inning save, Grunda came out for the bottom of the ninth with LEC still leading, 6-3. When he toed the rubber, he and the Storm defense were tasked with protecting a lead the offense hadn't added to in any measure – Lake Erie batters managed just a walk and a single over innings five-through-eight.
Wayne State's A.J. Matos drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. No. 9 hitter Griffin Harms followed Matos with a walk of his own, and the Warriors were set up to do some damage. A fly to center calmed things down a bit. An infield grounder then erased one man and scored another. And that was out No. 2.
Then a third walk in the inning brought Warriors cleanup batter Kyle Zimmerman to the plate. Zimmerman drilled a two-run double to left, bringing the visiting nine within one. But Grunda got LEC's feet – especially his own – out of the fire when he induced the next batter to pop out to first baseman Lucas Raley.
And with that, Lake Erie closed out a game that wasn't in doubt … and then was.
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