Lancers take opening game vs MVNU

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team kept its postseason hopes alive with a 10-6 victory over Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Friday.

The Lancers benefitted from a seven-run inning to hold off the Cougars (21-22, 10-15 Crossroads League) and remain in the hunt for the CL Tournament. Grace and MVNU will complete their series on Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at the Miller Athletic Complex.

The Lancers (6-31, 6-16 CL) made the most of their hits on Friday. Grace had seven extra-base hits — all of which were doubles.

The game was scoreless and quick through three innings as each pitcher found a rhythm. But Grace exposed MVNU’s defense in the bottom of the third with a massive inning.

Overall in the third, Grace enjoyed seven runs on seven hits, sparked by five consecutive doubles. All seven runs were scored with two outs as well.

Austin Baker started the scoring, driving in Ethan Brooks and Cameron Maxwell with a double. Houston Haney echoed Baker’s performance on the next at-bat, doubling to plate Baker and Hunter Ackerman.

Gabe Douglass, David Anderson and William Swisher all followed suit with an RBI double on the ensuing at-bats. When the dust had settled, Grace had batted around the lineup and held a 7-0 lead.

Grace tacked on three more runs in the fourth to pull ahead 10-0. Baker again was the initial catalyst, hitting another two-bagger to help two runs score. And Haney returned the favor with a double to score Baker.

The Lancers were fairly quiet for the rest of the game offensively, producing just a single hit over the final four innings.

The Cougars slowly built a comeback bid, plating six times between the fifth and seventh innings.

Jordan Noska and Kyle Brunner combined in relief to quiet MVNU down the stretch. Noska was responsible for two scoreless innings, yielding just one hit, and Brunner threw a perfect ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts to seal Grace’s victory.

Baker and Haney were both 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Maxwell hit 2-for-5 with two runs. Ackerman plated twice, and Anderson had 1 hit, 1 run and 1 RBI.

Saturday’s home games also serve as Senior Day to honor the graduating class.