DETROIT – Lake Erie got back to Great Lakes Intemrcollegiate Athletic Conference action on Wednesday, and the Storm ran into one of the GLIAC's toughest teams. LEC was swept, losing 8-0 in two straight games at Wayne State (Mich.).
Redshirt freshman Lyndsay Butler tossed a six-inning no-hitter in the opener. Only a second-inning error and a fifth-inning strikeout-passed-ball prevented Butler from throwing a perfect game. In the second game, Butler hit a home run WSU scored in every inning of a five-inning second game.
With the twin wins at home, Wayne State (33-9, 13-5 GLIAC) has now won eight straight games. Facing the GLIAC-leading pitching of the Warriors was bad timing for Lake Erie (5-32, 1-23) which had posted season highs in runs (11) and hits (17) in a game on Tuesday. Wayne State went into Wednesday's games with the nation's second-best team ERA (0.91).
Game 1 Lyndsay Butler – the league's leader in ERA (0.72) and strikeouts (202 – was dominant from the outset of Wednesday's opener. Butler tossed a 1-2-3 first, getting two strikeouts. Jeniffer Gratz led off the second by reaching on an error, but she was left on base with Butler against striking out two in retiring three in a row.
For the rest of the six-inning contest, Butler would average more than two punch-outs per inning. Beginning with the five-spot in the LEC order – a Darrian Yanek plate appearance – the Cambride, Ontario, Canada, native retired 11 in a row. That streak was broken only by … a strikeout. Amanda Anderson reached on a strikeout and a passed ball with two outs in the fifth.
Butler finished the game with 13 strikeouts.
A pair of singles and an LEC error led to Wayne State scoring two in the bottom of the first. LEC starter Amanda Anderson did a credible job in holding WSU to just the two runs, and she fared even better in the second and the third, keeping the Warriors off the board altogether.
Wayne State did manage to add a solo run in the fourth. But in a sense the Warriors really broke the game open in the fifth and sixth when they scored three and two, respectively.
In another sense, the home side really broke the game open when they penciled Butler in as the starting pitcher. And Lake Erie wasn't the WSU hurler's first victim: Wednesday's opener marked her third no-hitter of the season and her 11th game this season with a double-digit strikeout total.
Game 2 With the bat, Butler went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases in the opener. And it was with her bat that she kept doing damage in the nightcap. Batting third and playing right field, Butler smacked a two-run home run in the top of the first inning.
WSU added two more in the second and then two more in the third.
Warrior starter Briana Lee kept LEC batters off balance. The Storm did, however, break their no-hit day with a Darrian Yanek in the bottom of the second. They also got a hit – a double off the bat of Hannah Francis – and two walks in the third. But Lee escaped a bases-loaded jam without yielding a run.
The Warriors upped their lead to 8-0 by the fifth. Mackenzie Boehler came on to pitch the bottom of the fifth, and she closed out the game by pitching a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.
The Storm are slated to close out their season on Friday with a home doubleheader against Walsh.
Notes: Darrian Yanek reached base twice in the second game. Yanek has now reached base 13 times over Lake Erie's last six games. … Wayne State is now 15-1 all-time against LEC. … The Storm have now been held off the scoreboard in two doubleheaders this season. LEC failed to score in being swept by Grand Valley State (Mich.) on March 31.