ALLENDALE, MICH. – The Lake Erie College baseball team put in overtime on Sunday with a pair of extra inning games, but the work proved to be worth it as the Storm swept a doubleheader Sunday (March 25) from 10th-ranked Grand Valley State University to take the opening four-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) weekend series, 3-1, at the GVSU Baseball Field in Allendale. Lake Erie scored two unearned runs in the eighth for a 4-2 win in game one and then overcame a game-tying homer to outlast the Lakers 8-6 in nine innings in the finale.
In the opener, sophomore Brian Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) threw six innings of one-run ball but the teams were deadlocked at 2-2 heading into extra innings. In the eighth, senior Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) struck out on a ball in the dirt, but the throw from catcher Jared Cowan sailed down the right field line, allowing senior Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King), who had singled to start the inning, to score from second base and Leeworthy to advance all the way to third. Senior Kyle Kemp (Fredericksburg, Va./James Monroe) followed with an RBI single to score Leeworthy.
The Lakers (11-7, 1-3 GLIAC) got a single and walk to put two runners on in the bottom of the eighth, but junior reliever Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) worked out of the jam in his second inning of work to earn his first win of the season (1-0).
Kilway allowed just one earned run (two total) on three hits and worked around five walks with four strikeouts in his six innings. Junior Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) had two hits at the plate to lead the LEC offense while Kemp and freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) each had a hit and RBI.
Cowan had two hits and drove in a run for the Lakers in game one. Cory Baker allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in 5 2/3 innings to match Kilway. Brad Zambron (0-1) suffered the loss on the mound, giving up those two unearned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work, with two hits allowed and three strikeouts.
The nightcap was a while affair that saw the Storm jump out to a 6-1 lead heading into the late innings. Junior Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) singled in a run in both the second and fourth innings and Lindgren drove in another with a double in the fourth as LEC jumped out 3-0.
After a Giancarlo Brugnoni solo home run in the fifth made it 3-1, Lindgren hit his first collegiate homerun, a two-run shot that made it 5-1. It was also the first home run by a Lake Erie player this season. Blood scored on a throwing error later in the inning to make it a 5-run game.
The Lakers scored twice in the sixth to cut it to 6-3 heading into the final inning. Fox came in to try to close it out for the second time on the day, but Stephen Calypool blasted a game-tying, three-run home run to right field to tie the game at 6-6.
After a scoreless eighth, Leeworthy, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the sixth, singled off Zambron to score a pair and put the Storm back on top.
After a leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning, freshman Heath Kelley (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) came on to get three straight outs and his first collegiate save.
Blood led the offensive attack in game two by going 3-for-4 with two RBI while Lindgren had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs.
Sophomore Brad Raley (Hickley, Ohio/Highland) bounced back from a poor first start and threw 5-plus innings, allowing just two runs. He scattered seven hits and walked three while striking out three. Senior Mike Morgan (Russells Point, Ohio/Indian Lake) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win (1-1).
Claypool went 3-for-5 with his big blast doing most of the damage for GV. Two other Lakers had two hits in the game. Brett Gwaltney (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in 2 1/3 innings. Starter Anthony Campanella gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings.
In the two games, Grand Valley made seven errors and stranded 23 runners, including 14 in game two.
Winners of four of their last six games, the Storm plays its home opener on Wednesday, March 28, against traditional nonconference rival Notre Dame College. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at Braggs Field.