Bertram

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Grand Valley State opened the NCAA Midwest Super Regional on Friday by capturing a 5-3 victory against Indianapolis. GVSU took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning and held on for the two-run victory. The top two teams in the Midwest Region will continue the best-of-three series on Saturday.

With the victory, the Lakers have a 1-0 lead in the three-game series, meaning GVSU only has to win once on Saturday. Grand Valley State has now won four consecutive postseason games and improved to 43-6 on the year. Indianapolis dropped to 53-7 overall.

GVSU opened up a 4-0 cushion in the fourth inning and aside from a three-run rally by the Greyhounds, senior pitcher Hannah Santora was tremendous for the Lakers. She did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and gave up just three base hits total to an Indy team that entered Friday with a .325 team batting average.

The Lakers had their first good scoring opportunity in the top of the second inning. Senior Emily Jones led off with a single down the left field line and advanced to second when classmate Kayleigh Bertram put down a sacrifice bunt. On the play, Indianapolis pitcher Jennifer DeMotte mishandled the ball, allowing Bertram to reach first base. Both players moved up on a wild pitch, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. DeMotte battled back to get a strikeout, a groundout, and a lineout to end the threat.

GVSU broke through in the top of the third inning. It started with a walk to junior Brittany Taylor and a sharp single by senior Nellie Kosola over the shortstop's head. After a single to left field from Briauna Taylor, the bases were loaded for Katie Martin. She ripped a single to center field that scored both Brittany Taylor and Kosola from second base for a 2-0 advantage.

Two batters later, Bertram blooped a single to center field, loading the bases again for Grand Valley State with one out. DeMotte, however, was able to work out of any further trouble by inducing a foul out and a groundout to leave the bases loaded.

Santora worked through the Indianapolis lineup the first time without giving up a hit, allowing just one baserunner (a walk) in the opening three frames. After GVSU plated those two runs, she came out in the bottom of the third inning and retired the Greyhounds 1-2-3 on a pair of pop-ups and a flyball out.

To begin the fifth inning, Briauna Taylor struck out swinging, but the ball went to the backstop and Taylor was able to reach first base safely. A few pitches later, Martin drilled a shot into left field, but she misplayed the ball and it rolled to the fence. Taylor came all the way around to score easily, pushing the advantage to 3-0, as Martin was able to get to second base on the play.

After Martin moved to third with one out, Bertram ripped a line drive just off the glove of the UIndy third baseman that rolled into left field. Martin came home on the run-scoring single, extending the lead to 4-0.

It took Indianapolis until the fifth inning to secure its first base hit, but the Greyhounds not only tallied a hit, they also got on the scoreboard for the first time. A two-run double from Taylor Russell and an RBI single from Kelsey Rummel both came with two outs and both came after a Grand Valley State error. Santora kept the score at 4-3 on an inning-ending strikeout of DeMotte with two Greyhounds on base.

Senior Emily Holt delivered a leadoff double to center field and was lifted for pinch runner Chelsea Horvath, who moved to third base on a wild pitch. That double chased DeMotte from the game, as she went into center field and Morgan Foley entered the circle for the Greyhounds. Two batters later, Kosola hit a line drive to right center and DeMotte came over to make a diving catch. Horvath, however, tagged up and easily crossed home plate to up the advantage to 5-3.

Santora was able to close out the three-hitter by retiring the Greyhounds in order in the seventh inning. She recorded a swinging strikeout, a groundout and a fly ball out to finish off the victory. Santora allowed three unearned runs on three hits to move to 25-2 on the season. Santora walked three batters and struck out six Greyhounds, recording nine outs in the air and six groundball outs.

Six Lakers tallied a base hit, while only two players in the game had more than one hit -- Martin and Bertram, with two apiece. Martin drove in two runs, while Bertram and Kosola each added an RBI. Holt's double was the only extra base hit for GVSU, while one of UIndy's three hits was for extra bases.

Grand Valley State is now 32-20 all-time in NCAA postseason play. The Lakers look to clinch their second trip to the NCAA Division II Softball Championship on Saturday. GVSU advanced to the tournament's final round in 2002, when the Lakers took home a national runner-up finish.