Grace victorious in home opener
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College baseball team continued its Crossroads League campaign in a nine-inning game against Bethel on Tuesday.
The Lancers (3-22, 3-8 Crossroads League) fell behind early, but they were able to bounce back. After taking a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning, Grace never looked back. A 2-run home run by Sid Elford in the eighth inning put the game away. The Lancers came out on top 6-2.
The Pilots (10-21, 2-13 CL) wasted little time before taking the lead. The first inning started with two Bethel singles. An error on a groundball up the middle loaded the bases with just one away. A single and a walk gave the Pilots a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Houston Haney looked to singlehandedly put the Lancers on the board. His one-out double was just short of leaving the yard. He would be stranded at second after two strikeouts ended the inning.
Recently named NCCAA Pitcher of the Week, Aaron Voirol got the start on the mound for the Lancers. He began to get into a rhythm in the second inning. He showed his athleticism, as he caught a come-back line drive to the mound and had the presence of mind to double-up the runner at first. He forced the next batter to groundout to get out of the inning.
Grace had another opportunity to score in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, David Anderson hit a double off the left-field fence. However, the Pilots were able to come out of the inning unscathed.
The Lancers showed some defensive prowess in the third and fourth innings. Voirol was able to force a groundball to the third baseman with a runner on first which resulted in a 5-4-3 double play to end the third. In the fourth inning, the Pilots tried to swipe second base with two outs; however, Gabe Douglass’ throw to second beat the stealing baserunner to end the inning.
The Lancers were finally able to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Anderson started the rally for Grace with a single. He would score on an Elford double. Ethan Brooks would tie the game with a two-out single to left field. Brooks would advance to second base on the throw. Cam Maxwell would trade places with Brooks after a double to deep-left field. Maxwell would score courtesy of a double by Haney. This gave Grace a 4-2 lead going into the fifth inning.
Bethel tried to answer in the top of the fifth. The Pilots found themselves in a first and third situation with just one out after a double and an error. However, for the third time of the day, Voirol was able to force a double play ball to preserve the Lancer lead.
Voirol found himself in a jam in the top of the sixth. Two singles to start the inning gave the Pilots runners on first and second with no outs. Voirol kept his composure, as he struck out the next two batters. He was able force a groundout to end the inning, stranding both runners.
Both offenses struggled to get anything going after the sixth inning. The Lancers were held hitless until the bottom of the eighth. Anderson led off the frame with a single, as Grace tried to add some insurance runs before the ninth. The got them thanks to a one-out home run by Elford that was crushed over the left-field fence. This gave the Lancers a 6-2 lead going into the final frame.
Kyle Brunner took the mound in the ninth inning. He made easy work of the Pilots; he set them down in order to secure the victory.
Voirol finished the game with 8 innings pitched, 2 earned runs, 9 hits allowed and 3 strikeouts.
Anderson finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs. Brooks contributed 3 hits, 2 stolen bases, an RBI, and a run of his own. Haney added two doubles and an RBI. Elford finished with 2 hits, 2 runs and 3 RBIs. Last, but not least, Maxwell had a double with an RBI.
The Lancers will travel to Indianapolis tomorrow to play a doubleheader against Marian. The first pitch of game one will take place at 2 p.m.