GVSU makes comeback to upset Indianapolis in Midwest Super Regional
INDIANAPOLIS -- In the winner-take-all Game 3, No. 9 Grand Valley State came from behind to upset No. 1 Indianapolis 3-2 and capture the NCAA Midwest Super Regional championship. GVSU trailed 2-1, but the Lakers scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and held off a late UIndy threat to advance to the 2013 Division II National Softball Championship.
The only NCAA Super Regional between a pair of top-10 nationally-ranked teams, Grand Valley State opened a 1-0 lead in the series with a 5-3 win on Friday. Indianapolis evened the series earlier on Saturday with a 4-2 victory to force the pivotal third game. With GVSU's win in Game 3, the Lakers improve to 44-7 on the season. Indianapolis, the top-ranked team in the region and country, ends its season at 54-8.
The Lakers cracked through on the scoreboard in their first at-bat. Senior Nellie Kosola, who went 3-for-4 in Saturday's opening game, hit the first pitch she saw from GLVC Freshman of the Year Morgan Foley sharply into left field. She was on second base with two outs when junior Miranda Cleary ripped a single down the left field line. That brought Kosola around to score the game's first run.
GVSU put runners on the corners after a single to center field from Kayleigh Bertram pushed Cleary to third base. Senior Emily Jones then hit a scorching one-hopper that UIndy third baseman Kelsey Rummel was able to snag and fire to first base for the inning-ending out.
After retiring the Greyhounds in order in the first inning, GVSU freshman pitcher Sara Andrasik struck out Jennifer DeMotte to start the second inning, but issued a one-out walk to Alexa Alfaro. Andrasik then recorded another swinging strikeout. The inning promptly ended a few pitches later, when Laker senior catcher Emily Holt threw out Alfaro trying to steal second base. It was the 11th baserunner of the year that Holt has caught stealing.
Andrasik was able to work out of potential trouble in the top of the third inning, as UIndy put two runners on base with one out. She induced a flyout to center field for the second out, but used some defensive help to close the inning. The Greyhounds' Rummel lined a shot towards the left side of the infield, but shortstop Briauna Taylor made a leaping catch to end the inning and preserve the 1-0 lead.
Indianapolis broke through for two runs in the top of the fourth inning after a leadoff walk to back-to-back GLVC Player of the Year Casey Williamson. With two outs and Williamson at second, Bailey Wittenauer doubled into the gap in right center field to knot the score at 1-1. Jenny Thompson followed with an RBI single back up the middle to score Wittenauer and give the Greyhounds their first lead of the game.
Foley forced some trouble on herself in the bottom of the fourth inning, as she - after getting the first two outs - recorded consecutive hit-by-pitches on Brittany Taylor and Kosola. UIndy got out of the jam on a groundball out to end the threat.
2013 GLIAC Player of the Year Katie Martin made Foley pay in the bottom of the fifth inning. On the first pitch of the frame, Martin crushed the ball to right center field and high over the fence for her 19th home run of the year and the 58th of her career. The GLIAC all-time home run leader, Martin now ranks fifth in Division II history with 58 roundtrippers.
The Greyhounds were looking to answer in the top half of the sixth inning. DeMotte led off with a bloop into left field that ricocheted off the GVSU defender's glove for a leadoff double. She was bunted to third base and remained there after a flyball to center field. Thompson - who had an RBI single in the fourth inning - hit a line drive to right center field that was snared by right fielder Emily Jones for the third out.
In the bottom of the sixth, Holt worked a one-out walk and Brittany Taylor followed with a sharp single to left field. The base hit chased Foley from the game and brought in DeMotte, the Daktronics Midwest Regional Pitcher of the Year. Two batters later, with Brittany Taylor on second base and Kosola on first, Briauna Taylor - after fouling off three consecutive pitches on a full count - singled back up the middle. Brittany Taylor came around and beat the throw home to put GVSU on top 3-2.
Indianapolis would not go quietly in the seventh inning. Andrasik retired the first two batters she faced, but the Greyhounds struck with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second for Williamson, the top player in the GLVC each of her first two seasons. She hit a soft liner to Cleary at third base for the final out of the game. GVSU is now 35-0 when leading after six innings.
Andrasik put together, considering the circumstances, one of her finest efforts of the season. The GLIAC Freshman of the Year, she allowed two runs on seven hits in the complete game effort. In moving to 19-3, Andrasik walked three batters and struck out six Greyhounds. Foley was credited for all three runs and fell to 28-5 on the season.
In the last six games, Grand Valley State has played - and defeated - the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year (Ferris State's Dana Bowler), the GLVC Pitcher of the Year (Missouri-St. Louis' Hannah Perryman), the Daktronics Midwest Regional Pitcher of the Year (DeMotte), and the GLVC Freshman of the Year (Foley).
Seven Lakers recorded base hits, as Martin (2-for-4) was the lone Laker with more than one hit.
Grand Valley State improves to 33-21 all-time in 11 NCAA tournament appearances. It was the team's sixth trip to the Midwest Regional championship game (or series), also advancing this far in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2011.