XENIA, Ohio – Lake Erie will take on Grand Valley State (Mich.) on the fourth and final day of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Sunday. The Storm earned their appearance in the "1-1/2-game championship series" after a long day on Saturday, a day that eventually included a 6-2 loss to GVSU and a 13-3 win over Saginaw Valley (Mich.) to stay alive in the double-elimination format.
Saturday's contest against the Lakers was set back five hours due to thunderstorms that swept across the Dayton, Ohio, area in the morning. The Storm and Lakers played a close back-and-forth game that had LEC in front, 3-2, before a Giancarlo Brugnoni three-run home run in the seventh. That round-tripper – a GLIAC-record-setting 47th career homer for Brugnoni – would lead to the final four-run cushion for the Lakers, and it sent the Storm into a night game in the tournament's loser's bracket.
That night game would turn out to be a game against the Saginaw Valley Cardinals that didn't start until 9:46 p.m. A see-saw game was tied, 3-3, when Sean Mathews lifted Lake Erie to a 5-3 lead with a two-out, two-run single in the fourth.
In the sixth, the Storm broke the game wide open, getting a three-run triple from Lucas Raley and a three-run home run from Lou Peterlin en route to plating eight. Reliever Brandon Grunda, who came on after Heath Kelley went four innings, pitched scoreless ball from the fifth inning-on. He scattered three doubles and five total base runners, defending the 13-3 lead the rest of the way for the victory. The contest ended just shy of 1 p.m.
And that sets up LEC for today – the Storm have reached a conference final for the first time in their 13-year history. They will face a No. 1-seeded Laker squad at noon. If the Storm wins at noon that would set up a second game afterward. A win by GVSU gives them the GLIAC pennant.
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