The Wright State Lake Campus baseball team opened their season Friday on the road against, NCAA Division II, Georgia Southwestern State University for a twin bill. The Lakers enter the 2018 season fresh off the best season in program history which included 27-18 record, a number one national ranking in the USCAA poll during the regular season, and a fourth place finish in the Small College World Series. The Lakers enter this season with more expectations than ever before, and Coach Chad Geier built a schedule to challenge this young Laker squad, that returns 15 players from last years squad.
The Lakers were led in game one by their pitching and defense. Zach Kirby got the start in game one and did a tremendous job shutting down the Canes offense through 5.2 innings not allowing a single hit. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Kirby had some control issues walking 9 batters. It was that lack of control that allowed the Canes to score in the first inning on a wild pitch. After the wild pitch Kirby settled in and the Lakers defense kept the road team in the game. In the seventh inning the Lakers offense rallied and plated their first run of the game to tie it. The rally got started with Noah Greathous reaching base on a wild pitch. Ronaldo Acosta came to the plate and came up big with a single that advanced Greathous to third. Enter Isaac Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald came up in a big spot, driving Greathous to come across the plate and knot the game up 1-1. In the bottom of the 7th the Canes offense woke up and was able to bring two across from an RBI double and another wild pitch. The Canes 3-1 lead would hold strong as the Lakers would only get two more baserunners in the game. Zach Kirby did not factor in the decision in his strong start to the season.
Inside the Box Score:
- Pitching battle: there were only seven hits between the two teams, the Lakers had 5 of those. The two pitching staffs combined for 26 strikeouts in the game.
- Lakers committed 0 errors in the game.
- All American Dustin Lewis picked up where he left off going 2/3, reaching base three times, and swiping two stolen bases in game one.
The Lakers came into game two with Casey Grimm taking the hill. Just like the first game the Lakers again got strong pitching and defense. The Lakers offense started to wake up more in the second game getting much more contact than they did in game two. Stephen Hoendorf led the Lakers offense going 2/3 including a massive 2 RBI double to center field in the top of the third inning. The Canes would respond in the bottom of the fourth and would go on to score three unanswered runs. In the top of the 7th with two outs Dustin Lewis again stepped up like the All American he is and hit a shot to left field that drove in, Sophomore, Billy Lanman to tie the game at 3-3. The Lakers ended up losing in the bottom of the seventh in a walk sacrifice fly to the Canes. Casey Grimm pitched well for the Lakers going 6 innings and striking out 5 batters while scattering 6 hits throughout his day. Grimm pounded the strike zone with 61 of his 93 pitches being strikes.
Inside the Box Score:
- Tristan Becker, Anthony Steele, and Billy Lanman all crossed home plated for the Lakers.
- Becker, Fitzgerald and Steele all singled for the Lakers in game two.
- Lakers had another clean game in the field with no errors.
What Coach Says:
Coach Chad Geier said this about the opening weekend, "Our defense really looked good this weekend. I thought our pitching looked great as well. Zach Kirby pitched well. This early in the year we knew we had to get him to pull him in the 6th because his pitch count was getting up there. He had some trouble with keeping his fastball up, but I am very excited about what he will do the rest of the year on the hill for us. Casey threw outstanding as well in game two. We competed very well with a great NCAA Division II school in the tough Peach Belt Conference. We had some opportunities that could have flipped the end results in both games. We were a couple of plays away. Obviously we don't like dropping two games to start the year but I saw a ton of positives this weekend, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."