Clermont, Fla. -- Grand Valley State kicked off its spring break trip at the NTC Softball Complex with victories over Georgian Court and Lock Haven on Sunday afternoon. The No. 20 Lakers tallied 17 hits and their pitching staff combined for 18 strikeouts in a pair of close games.
The morning session saw GVSU take down Georgian Court, 3-1, in a pitching duel. Junior pitcher Lauren Gevaart fanned 14 batters and yielded just three hits in her first complete game of the season. Georgian Court's only run came on a throwing error during a successful double-steal attempt in the third inning.
In the bottom half of the third, the Laker bats caught fire.
Sophomore infielder McKenze Supernaw led the inning off with a single and took two extra bases, thanks to a throwing error. Senior infielder Briauna Taylor drove in GVSU's first run with a single through the left side. Following a single by senior infielder Miranda Cleary and a sacrifice bunt by redshirt freshman catcher Marianne Deppe, senior infielder Tonya Calkins lined one up the middle to bring in what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Calkins, who went 3-for-3 at the plate, also singled down the third-base line in the fifth inning to drive home an insurance run.
Georgian Court put runners on first and second during the top half of the sixth, but Gevaart got out of the jam with a strikeout. She struck out two more batters in the final inning to close out the win. Her 14 strikeouts are the most by any Laker since Lori Andjelich fanned the same number of hitters back on May 12, 2007 against Missouri-Rolla.
No GVSU pitcher has managed to post more than 14 strikeouts in a game since current pitching coach, and Laker Hall of Famer, Jen Mackson had 18 versus Mercyhurst on Mar. 4, 2004.
The Lakers topped Lock Haven 8-5 in their final game of the day, which nearly got away from them early on.
GVSU built a 3-0 lead in the first two innings off of a two-run double by Cleary and a sacrifice fly to right field from freshman infielder Jenna Lenza. The early edge quickly evaporated in the bottom half of the second after seven consecutive walks by Laker pitchers. A fielder's choice ended the inning, but Lock Haven amassed five runs on just one hit to grab a two-run advantage.
Things looked grim until Gevaart came to the dish with two outs in the top of the sixth for her only at-bat of the afternoon. She reached on an error to keep the inning alive and allowed Cleary to score.
Freshman outfielder Kelsey Dominguez brought a run to the plate with a single and senior outfielder Brittany Taylor drove in a pair with a single through to right side, which capped the Lakers' four-run frame and gave them a 7-5 lead.
After Supernaw homered down the left-field line in the top of the seventh, sophomore pitcher Sara Andrasik, who returned in the sixth inning after starting the game, put down the final three Lock Haven batters in order to record her first save of the season.
Freshman pitcher Ellie Balbach took over for Andrasik during the rocky second frame and earned the first victory of her collegiate career.
The two victories lift GVSU's overall record to 4-2 on the year.