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UPDATE: #5 Lakers fall to #4 Texas A&M-Kingsville, 2-1, at the College World Series
The #5 seed Grand Valley State dropped a 2-1 decision to #4 seed Texas A&M-Kingsville in the opening round of the 2019 Division II College Softball World Series. The Lakers will now face LIU Post, the loser of the first game of the day, in an elimination game tomorrow afternoon (May 24) at 4:00 PM MDT (6:00 PM EDT). The Lakers fall to 49-9 with the loss while the Javelinas improve to 49-8.
The Grand Valley State softball team is headed back to the Division II College World Series for the fourth time in program history – and second time in the last four seasons – after they defeated Indianapolis 4-2 in the NCAA Division II Midwest Super Regional Championship game. GVSU won the first two games of the best-of-three series, also taking down the Greyhounds 2-1 yesterday afternoon. The win pushes the Lakers to 49-8 on the season while Indianapolis closes their season with a 49-17 mark.
The Lakers will now head to Denver, Colo. for the 2019 NCAA Division II College World Series on May 23-27. This is the first trip to the big tournament since the 2016 season when the Lakers also traveled to Denver and finished their season with a 43-13 mark. GVSU also made appearances in 2013 and 2002.
After tying the program record with 18 strikeouts yesterday, GVSU senior pitcher Allison Lipovsky set the single-season record for most wins in a season after she improved to 31-2 on the year. She tossed a complete game, 123-pitch effort, allowing just two runs while striking out seven and walking one.
The Laker offense tagged the Greyhound pitching staff for eight hits and four runs as the Lakers top three batters in the order all tallied multi-hit games. Centerfielder Kaylie Rhynard, second baseman Taylor Rieger, and third baseman Lydia Goble all went 2-4 at the dish while Goble delivered two RBI's. Designated player Kelcie LaTour and shortstop Shannon Flaherty both added a hit and RBI apiece as well.
Much like they did in the first game of the championship series, GVSU jumped out to an early lead. As the away team they batted first and put up two runs on three hits to get things started. Rhynard and Rieger knocked back to back singles before Goble delivered an RBI double to center for the early 1-0 lead. LaTour then hit a long fly ball into right field that allowed Rieger to tag up from third and score for the quick 2-0 lead.
UIndy managed just a hit in each of their first two at-bats while the Lakers would add another run in the top of the third when Shannon Flaherty roped a single into left to score Goble as the Lakers went up 3-0 after three.
The Greyhounds threatened in the bottom of the fourth when they got two runners in scoring position with one out but a fly out and a huge final strikeout off the hand of Lipovsky closed the opportunity for UIndy.
Lipovsky would surrender her first runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth when Indy's Gianni Iannantone homered to centerfield to cut the lead to just one, 3-2. That happened with nobody out and the Greyhounds kept the rally alive and eventually loaded the bases with two outs. Maintaining her composure, Lipovsky once again delivered a huge strikeout to keep the Laker lead intact.
GVSU got a much-needed insurance run in the seventh when Goble ripped a single to shortstop to score Rhynard from third and take the 4-2 lead.
In the final at-bats, the Greyhounds drew a leadoff walk before knocking a fly out for the first out. Freshman catcher Morgan Wagner then blocked a ball in the dirt and made a laser throw over to Holmen at first who applied the tag on the Indy runner who was late getting back to the bag.
A final foul out to Goble at third sent the Laker dugout hurtling out onto the field as the celebration began.
Again, GVSU's attention will soon turn to the College World Series later next week as they make their first appearance in four years.