2013 NCAA II Baseball National Finals - Game Nine: No. 14 Grand Valley State Defeats No. 11 Franklin Pierce 10-3
Freshman Patrick Kelly provided seven strong innings of work on the mound and the Grand Valley State University offense backed him with 15 hits in a 10-3 elimination-game victory over Franklin Pierce University in the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals Wednesday at Cary, N.C. The National Finals are co-hosted by Town of Cary and Mount Olive College at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
With the win, the 14th-ranked Lakers (37-18) advance to a 3 p.m. Thursday contest against Tampa, one of two unbeaten teams left in the championship field. The loss ends the season for the 11th-ranked Ravens at 37-19.
Kelly (8-3), a right-hander from Rockford, Ill., scattered seven hits and did not walk a batter while striking out three.
Kevin Zak had three hits and Stephen Claypool scored three runs, while Chris Rudenga and Giancarlo Brugnoni each drove in two runs for the Lakers. Dan Kemp had two hits and Zach Mathieu drove in a pair of runs in a losing cause for the Ravens.
Grand Valley State took an early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the second, as Rudenga singled to left-center, advanced to third on a pair of sacrifice bunts, and came home on a single to left by Stuart Eisler.
The Ravens rallied back in the top of the third, getting three hits and scoring three times, two of those on a two-out double into the right-field corner off the bat of Mathieu.
But the Franklin Pierce lead didn't last long, as the Lakers struck right back for five runs in the bottom half of the frame to regain the lead for good, 6-3. Grand Valley State collected four hits in the inning off starter Kevin McGowan (7-2) and Raven reliever Ryan Leach, including RBI singles by Zak and Rudenda, and a triple to centerfield by Jesse Abel.
Franklin Pierce's third reliever, Doug Willey, finally slowed the Grand Valley State offense, retiring nine of the first 11 batters he faced. However, the Lakers broke through in the sixth, getting a pair of singles by Mike Nadratowski and Zak to set up a two-run double by Brugnoni that increased the Grand Valley State lead to 8-3.
The Lakers tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth, the first on an RBI double down the left field line by pinch-hitter Chris Ripple. He would later score on a sacrifice fly by Rudenga.
After giving up the three runs in the third inning, Kelly completely shut down the Ravens offensively, giving up just two hits over the next four innings. He left in the top of the eighth inning after an error and a single to start the frame.
The win was Kelly's fifth in a row and his second in the NCAA post-season.
Grand Valley State has won two consecutive elimination games at Cary. The Lakers need to defeat Tampa Thursday and Friday to advance to Saturday's championship game.
"Any time you win a game here it is a huge victory. Kelly threw a great game for us. He kept throwing strikes and did his job in putting the ball in play. We have to cut down on the mistakes against Tampa, but we also have to stay loose and have fun and not get too tense."
Grand Valley State head coach Jamie Detillion
"I'm seeing the ball well, putting the ball in play and it is finding holes."
Grand Valley State second baseman Kevin Zak
"We had a game plan we went in to the game with that worked well, then after they started hitting the ball well, we changed it up and started getting outs again. We had some great communication about our strategy."
Grand Valley State freshman pitcher Patrick Kelly