www.grace.edu

2009-10

Lancers Lose Heartbreaker in Season Finale

5/14/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace gave up a late 2-0 lead and lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to Cedarville University on Friday to eliminate them from the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament.

One out away from taking the victory, the Lancers had a 2-0 lead with the bases empty in the bottom of the seventh. But Cedarville hit a home run, forced Grace to rotate through two pitchers and scored three clutch runs to take the win and eliminate the Lancers.

The game was scoreless up until the fifth inning when Nate Wottring hit an RBI single to score teammate Jeff Himes. Wottring stepped up again in the seventh inning when he, facing two outs, ripped a clutch RBI triple to deep left-center to give Grace a 2-0 lead.

In the final game of their careers, two of Grace’s seniors came up big. Chris Burdette went 3-for-3 with three hits, and Chay Bailey started on the mound and pitched a scoreless game through five innings, striking out four batters.

Grace had six hits to the Yellow Jackets’ (26-25) five hits. Wottring was 2 for 4 and Himes was 1 for 1 with a double.

The Lancers ended the season with a 21-33 record, tying the all-time record for most wins in a season set by the 1972 team.


Cougars Top Lancers in Final Inning

5/14/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Despite outhitting the Cougars all game, Grace's baseball team found themselves down 4-2 coming into their last at-bats of the opening game.

However, the Lancers (21-32) led off with two straight walks, and Nate Wottring reached base on an error, which scored a run. Then after a passed ball, Kyle Knapp scrambled home to plate the tying run.

The Cougars responded in the bottom of the seventh with a single, a bunt single and a double steal to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Casey Lundy, a pinch hitter, then singled home the winning run to give Spring Arbor the 5-4 win.

The Lancers had numerous opportunities to grab the lead, including a bases-loaded zero-out situation in the top of the 6th inning. Grace had scored one run earlier in the inning, but they were only able to score one more run after grounding into a double play and flying out to end the inning.

Wottring and Chris Burdette led Grace’s offensive attack in the first game with two hits apiece. Wottring, Michael Clark and Easterday each had an RBI.


Grace Reaches Program Milestone

5/8/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's baseball team earned their 21st victory on Friday with a 6-1 win over Robert Morris University (Chicago). The Lancers (21-31) tied the program record for single-season wins that was set back in 1972.

After losing the first game 3-1, Grace bounced back in the second game to defeat a solid Eagles (33-16) squad. Robert Morris had several pitching woes at the start of the game, and Grace capitalized off of three walks and two hit batsmen in the second inning to pick up two runs. The Lancers added four more runs in the third inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Robert Morris finally got on the board in the top of the fourth and scored their only run of the game.

Michael Clark pitched a complete game for the Lancers, only giving up six hits and one run to earn his fifth win of the year.

Grace had seven hits in the game, and no Lancer tallied more than two hits. Reagan Eakins and Nate Wottring each had two RBIs.

In the first game, the Lancers outhit Robert Morris 9-5, but left nine runners on base throughout the game and only scored one run. Grace was the first to get on the board when Jeff Himes hit an RBI single to score Brent Easterday in the second inning. The Eagles, however, tied the game with a run in the top of the fourth, and Jawanza Young ripped a two-run homer in the sixth to give Robert Morris a 3-1 lead.

Wottring and Chris Burdette were both 2 for 3 in the first game.

Chay Bailey pitched a solid game for the Lancers, giving up five hits and three runs in six innings.

Bailey, Burdette, Joel Zakahi, Jonathan Vornbrock and Ryan Eakins were recognized on Grace's Senior Day.

Grace will play in the NCCAA Regional tournament next Friday and Saturday at Miller Field. The competing teams and tournament schedule will be released later this week.


Foresters' Offense Powers Past Lancers

5/4/10

HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- In the Mid-Central College Conference play-in series, Grace's baseball team couldn't keep Huntington's offense in check, falling twice.

After going down 0-2 in the first game, the Lancers (20-30) climbed their way back into the game and tied it at 4-4 with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. However, the Foresters (27-20) responded with four runs in the bottom of the fifth and eight straight runs overall to win 12-4.

Grace's bats were active all game, finishing with 11 hits. Ryan Eakins, Josh Petry, Chris Burdette, Brent Easterday and Jeff Himes each had two hits in the game. Petry also added two RBIs. But Huntington's offense was even more potent with 16 hits.

In the second game, Huntington was almost perfect. In fact, Grace barely avoided being on the wrong end of a shutout with a walk and an RBI double by Burdette in the top of the seventh for their only run in a 12-1 loss.

The Lancers gave up 13 hits, including three home runs, while recording one hit (by Burdette) and three walks on offense.

Grace return to action on Saturday with a doubleheader at home against Rochester College. The Senior Day will honor five Lancer seniors for their contribution to the program. The games will start at 2 p.m.


Grace Drops Pair to Marian

5/1/10

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Grace dropped two games to Marian University on Saturday, 11-1 and 5-3.

The Lancers (20-28; 5-19 MCC) had more hits than Marian in the second game (10-8), but couldn't recover from their slow start where they gave up three runs in the first inning.

Grace scored a run in the first, third and fifth. The Lancers got within one run (4-3) in the fifth inning but were unable to complete their comeback. Michael Clark and Andrew Duncan each went 2 for 3 from the plate while Chris Burdette went 2 for 4.

In the first game, Grace entered the bottom of the third inning tied with the Knights (23-21; 15-9 MCC). But Marian tallied three runs in the third, three in the fifth and four more in the sixth to run away with the victory. They had 13 hits to Grace's six.

Kyle Knapp, Nate Wottring, Duncan and Jeff Himes each had a hit, and Clark went 2 for 2, going a solid 4 for 5 on the day.

Grace struggled from the mound, rotating through seven pitchers in the doubleheader.


Lancers' Pitching Blanks IU Northwest

4/26/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's baseball team lengthened its longest winning streak of the season to seven games with a sweep over Indiana University Northwest.

Lancer pitchers Chay Bailey and Matt Helm locked down the RedHawk hitters, allowing nine hits and zero runs in two games.

In the first game, Bailey's six-hit performance from the mound helped the Lancers (19-25) shut down IU Northwest 6-0. Bailey threw six innings, allowing one walk and striking out four.

Offensively, the Lancers left 13 runners on base, but they scored more than enough to grab the win. Ryan Eakins scored three runs for Grace, and Josh Petry finished 3 for 4 with an RBI.

The Lancers continued their dominance over the RedHawks with a 5-0 win in the second game. Helm threw a complete-game gem, yielding three hits and striking out seven batters.

Eight different Lancers recorded a hit in the second game, led by Derek Zwier who finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Eakins proved deadly on the basepaths again, scoring a pair of runs.

The Lancers return to action Wednesday when they travel to face Earlham College. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.


Winning Streak Increases to Five

4/22/10

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Grace's baseball team improved their winning streak to five games on Thursday, their largest streak since their four-game string of victories in 2006.

The Lancers (17-25) defeated Holy Cross 13-4 and 11-1, led by Josh Petry who went 5 for 5 on the day.

In the first game, Grace tallied 19 hits in 36 at-bats and scored in every inning except the seventh. Both Andrew Duncan and Brent Easterday went 3 for 4 and Petry was a perfect 4 for 4 from the plate. Nate Wottring, Michael Clark and Easterday had three RBIs and Easterday also had the day's only home run.

Derek Zwier started for the Lancers on the mound and only gave up one earned run in four innings.

Grace continued their dominance over the Saints (2-18) in the second game, capitalizing off of 10 walks and three Holy Cross errors. The Lancers tallied two runs in each of the first two innings, three runs in the fifth and four in the sixth.

No Lancer had more than one hit, but Derek Zwier had three RBIs and Christopher Reaves had two. Grace scored 11 runs off of six hits.

Duncan pitched five innings for the Lancers and held Holy Cross scoreless, only giving up two hits and striking out five batters.

Both Petry and Wottring are edging closer to breaking George Straits' single-season RBI record (41) at Grace College. Petry currently has 37 RBIs and Wottring has 34.

The Lancers look to continue their winning streak as they go up against Rochester College at home on Saturday for Senior Day. Five seniors will be acknowledged at Miller Field: Chay Bailey, Chris Burdette, Ryan Eakins, Jonathan Vornbrock and Joel Zakahi. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


Petry Powers Lancers Past Red Hawks

4/20/10

GARY, Ind. -- Grace's baseball team combined for 25 hits and 24 runs against IU-Northwest, sweeping the doubleheader on Tuesday.

Josh Petry had a standout performance at the plate, going 7 for 8 on the day with three runs scored and five RBIs on the day.

Petry was one of several offensive stars for the Lancers. Derek Zwier (4 for 6, four runs), Michael Clark (4 for 7, three runs) and Kyle Knapp (4 for 8, four RBIs) each had a pair of multi-hit games.

In the opener, the Lancers (15-25) had a double-digit lead over the Red Hawks (1-39) by the end of the third inning and had run-ruled IU-Northwest by the fifth to win 13-0. Kier West easily handled the Red Hawks at the plate, throwing a one-hitter and striking out five.

Grace's second game was a different story. The Lancers had to rally from a 3-1 deficit, which they did with a five-run outburst in the top of the fourth to regain the lead for good. The Red Hawks made the game interesting with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but it was too little, too late as Grace won 11-6.

Nate Wottring hit a solo home run for the Lancers, and Joel Zakahi won his first game of the season with a complete-game effort. He allowed six hits, three walks and one earned run in seven innings.

Grace is currently enjoying their third three-game winning streak of the year. The Lancers have yet to achieve four straight wins. They will hope to do so on Thursday as they travel to face Holy Cross College for a doubleheader at 4 p.m.


Helm Pitches Grace Past Former Team

4/17/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Matt Helm's best game of the season couldn't have been more timely.

After losing the first game 9-3, Helm, a transfer from Indiana Wesleyan, pitched a complete game against his former team in the second contest and led the Lancers (13-25; 5-17 MCC) to a 5-1 victory. He gave up seven hits in the game and struck out four batters to earn his second win of the year.

The victory snapped Grace's nine-game losing skid and three-game losing streak to the Wildcats (14-27; 4-10 MCC).

The second game was tied 1-1 until the fifth inning when Nate Wottring scored on a wild pitch to give Grace a 2-1 advantage. The Lancers added three more runs in the sixth inning, sparked by Andrew Duncan's two-run homer. Reagan Eakins also had a base hit to score Chris Burdette in the sixth.

Grace had eight hits in the game led by Michael Clark who went 2 for 3 from the plate. Duncan had two RBIs while Eakins and Derek Zwier each had one.

In the first game, Grace got off to a slow start and gave up six runs in the first inning. The Lancers scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth, but couldn't overcome their early deficit.

Chay Bailey had a solid game in relief and only gave up two earned runs in six innings. Nate Wottring went 3 for 4 from the plate, tallying three of Grace's five hits. Wottring, Burdette and Duncan each had an RBI.

The Lancers return to action in non-conference play at Indiana University Northwest on Tuesday. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.


Lancers Drop Close Pair to Wildcats

4/15/10

MARION, Ind. -- Grace's baseball team lost two games by a total of three runs to Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday.

In the opening game, the Lancers (12-24; 4-16 MCC) pushed the Wildcats (13-26; 3-9 MCC) into extra innings before falling by one run. Grace used a four-run third inning to grab a 4-3 lead. After Nate Wottring got Grace on the board with an RBI single, Josh Petry put the Lancers in front with a bases-clearing, three-run double.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Indiana Wesleyan tied the game with a two-out RBI single. After neither team could plate the winning run in the seventh, the Wildcats won the game in the eighth with a single to shallow right field.

Michael Clark pitched a solid game for Grace, throwing extremely well with runners on base. Although Indiana Wesleyan outhit Grace 13-6, they finished with 12 runners left on base.

Chris Burdette and Wottring each finished with two hits. Wottring also stole one base.

Grace had five more hits than Indiana Wesleyan in the second game (8 to 3), but the Wildcats still pulled out a 4-2 victory. The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead early, but the Lancers answered with a pair of runs in the top of the third. The Wildcats scored the final runs of the game, however, with a score in the third inning and the fifth inning.

Burdette once against hit well for Grace, finishing 2 for 3. Kier West took the loss on the mound, giving up three earned runs in six innings. He allowed three hits, five walks and struck out seven.

The Lancers return to action Saturday for a rematch with Indiana Wesleyan. The doubleheader at Miller Field will start at 1 p.m.


Lancers Unable to Overcome Slow Start

4/13/10

GRANGER, Ind. -- Grace's baseball team couldn't overcome an early deficit in their non-conference loss to Davenport University on Tuesday.

The Lancers (12-22) trailed Davenport 10-1 entering the sixth inning but made a late comeback over the next four innings to barely fall 10-7. Grace scored two runs in the sixth inning and four runs in the eighth to give the Panthers (13-18) a scare.

Grace earned the first run of the game off of a Davenport error in the top of the first, but the Panthers responded with four runs and six hits in the bottom of the first to build a 4-1 lead over the Lancers.

Davenport continued to increase their lead, scoring at least one run in the first five innings before Grace mounted their comeback. The Panthers hit three home runs throughout the course of the game.

Nate Wottring led the Lancers, going 2 for 4 from the plate with a basehit and a double. Reagan Eakins, Derek Zwier and Jeff Himes each had a hit. Davenport had 15 hits to Grace's five.

Wottring, Josh Petry and Zwier tallied two RBIs apiece while Brent Easterday had one RBI.

The loss is Grace's sixth in a row.

They will try to snap their losing skid when they return to conference play at Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


Grace Drops Fourth Straight to Spring Arbor

4/10/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Spring Arbor completed their four-game season sweep over Grace's baseball team on Saturday. The Cougars (24-9; 11-3 MCC) defeated Grace 6-3 in the first game and 23-3 in the second game.

Spring Arbor, who is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll, struggled to get past the Lancers (12-21; 4-14 MCC) in the first game. Grace took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third before the Cougars tied the game with a run in the top of the fifth. The game went into extra innings, and Spring Arbor tallied three runs in the top of the eighth to take the victory.

Derek Zwier gave a solid effort on the mound. He tossed a complete game for the Lancers, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.

Grace tallied seven hits on the day, led by Kyle Knapp who went 2 for 4 from the plate. Nate Wottring, Josh Petry, Chris Burdette, Reagan Eakins and Jeff Himes each had a hit in the first game.

After nearly knocking off a nationally noticed team in the first game, the Lancers struggled significantly in the second game. Grace cycled through six different pitchers, none of them lasting more than two innings, and gave up 23 runs and 22 hits. Spring Arbor had a 10-3 lead after the fourth inning, then proceeded to score 13 runs in the top of the fifth.

The Lancers had five hits in the second game, and Michael Clark went 2 for 2.

In the last four games, Spring Arbor has scored 50 runs on the Lancers.

Grace returns to action at Davenport University on Tuesday. The doubleheader will start at 2 p.m.


Cougars Too Much for Grace

4/8/10

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- Grace fell to Spring Arbor 11-1 and 10-0 in their doubleheader on Thursday.

In the first game, the Lancers (12-19; 4-12 MCC) only trailed by one run until the bottom of the fifth inning when Spring Arbor scored eight runs to blow the game open.

Josh Petry went 2 for 3 from the plate, and Grace tallied five hits overall. Chris Burdette, Derek Zwier and Christopher Reaves each had a hit. Matt Helm lasted until the fifth inning on the mound.

The Cougars (22-9; 9-3 MCC) crushed Grace in the second game and run-ruled them in the fifth inning. Zwier had Grace's only hit, and Kier West struck out five batters on the mound.

Grace Explodes Offensively

4/6/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College came into their doubleheader with St. Francis trying to break a five-game losing skid. As a result, the Lancers (12-17; 4-10 MCC) erupted for 32 runs but could only split with the Cougars (7-26-1; 2-4 MCC) at Miller Field.

Grace’s offensive showcase came after topping 10 runs only four times before Tuesday’s games.

In the opener, Josh Petry was the player of the game. He finished 3 for 4 with three home runs and seven RBIs to lead Grace to a 15-14 victory. Michael Clark started on the mound and helped Grace out to a 6-0 lead through three innings. But the Lancers blew their cushion and found themselves down 14-13 coming into their final turn at the plate.

However, Ryan Eakins hit an RBI triple to even the score and later plated the winning run off a walk-off single by senior Chris Burdette. Chay Bailey came on in relief to grab the win for the Lancers.

In the second game, Saint Francis’ bats stayed hot by scoring in every inning except the second. The Cougars scored 19 runs on 22 hits. They hit four home runs in the second game, including a grand slam in the top of the seventh by Jon Saporsantos which would prove to be the difference.

The Lancers came into the bottom of the seventh inning needing 10 runs to overcome the 19-10 deficit, but they only scored seven, falling to Saint Francis 19-17.

Eakins finished 7 for 9 on the day with six runs scored. Kyle Knapp also added three hits and four runs, including his first career home run in the first game. Nate Wottring also continued to put up solid numbers as he went 5 for 9 with four runs driven in.

The Lancers pitching staff will look to reverse a troubling trend this week. Over the past six games, Grace has given up 90 runs – an average of 15 runs per game. The Lancers will return to action on Thursday for a doubleheader at Spring Arbor University starting at 1 p.m.


Grace's Bats No Match for Bethel

4/2/10

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – For the first four and a half innings on Saturday, Grace's baseball team kept pace with Bethel College, holding a 1-0 lead coming into Bethel's half of the fifth inning.

However, the Pilots (9-17; 5-3 MCC) poured in 12 runs in the fifth to run-rule the Lancers (11-16; 3-9 MCC). Bethel used an eight-run inning in the second game to defeat Grace 16-6 to sweep the season series.

Derek Zwier started on the mound in the first game and kept the Pilots at bay for four innings. The only run Grace scored in the first game came from Jeff Himes from an RBI from Nate Wottring, who had two of Grace's three hits in the game.

Grace hit much better in the second game (10 hits), but they left nine runners on base and gave up 17 hits by the Pilots.

Kyle Knapp, Josh Petry and Andrew Duncan each had two hits for the Lancers, and Chris Burdette led the team with a pair of RBIs.

The Lancers will return to action on Tuesday when they will welcome Saint Francis to Miller Field. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


Lancers Can't Keep Pace With Pilots

4/1/10
 

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's baseball team was no match for Bethel College on Thursday, falling by the run-rule in both games of a doubleheader.

The Pilots (7-17; 3-3 MCC) started off the opening inning with four runs and didn't look back. Although the Lancers (11-14; 3-7 MCC) plated three runners in the second inning, Bethel's bats were too much for Grace to handle. Bethel erupted for 15 hits, including seven extra-base hits, to run away with a 15-3 win in six innings. The Pilots scored nine unanswered runs to close the game.

In his first game back from a nose injury, senior Ryan Eakins was one of the few Lancers to get on track at the plate. He recorded two of Grace's five hits, including a groundout in the second inning to score Brent Easterday. The Lancers struggled in the field with five errors.

The second game started off much differently but had the same result. Chris Burdette got the first run of the game for Grace in the second inning off a two-out RBI single from Kyle Knapp. Grace was in place for a big inning but left two runners on base.

Bethel responded in their half of the third inning with three runs, including a two-out two-run triple, to take the lead. But Grace didn't back down. Burdette scored again in the bottom of the fourth. After getting on base with a leadoff single, Burdette came home when Josh Petry took a 1-2 pitch over the center field fence to even the score at 2-2.

However, the Pilots ended the game with 11 unanswered runs over the next three innings to take the 14-3 victory.

Burdette and Petry both finished 2 for 3 on the day. They recorded four of Grace's five hits and all three of Grace's runs between them. The Lancers' defense (four errors), coupled with the fact that eight of Bethel's 11 hits were extra-base hits (three home runs), were far too much for the Lancers to overcome.

The Lancers return to action on Friday to complete their four-game series with the Pilots. Grace will travel to Mishawaka, Ind., with the doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.


Clark Pitches Gem as Lancers Split with Foresters

3/30/10
 

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College baseball team split its doubleheader against Huntington University on Tuesday at Miller Field.

The Lancers (11-12; 3-5 MCC) opened up the day with an 11-3 victory as Michael Clark kept the Forester (10-10, 3-1 MCC) bats quiet in a complete game for his third win. Clark gave up three runs, one earned while striking out four batters.

The Lancer lineup erupted for 11 runs on 13 hits in the first game. Grace was paced at the plate by Kyle Knapp as he went 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Nate Wottring jump-started the scoring with a solo home run, and Brent Easterday broke the game open with a three-run home run in the fifth inning.

Reagan Eakins and Andrew Duncan also went 2 for 4 in the game.

Despite taking a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning of the second game, Grace gave up a late charge to Huntington to drop the game. Huntington got on the scoreboard first as Eric Shultz hit a home run to lead off the game. But the Lancers answered and took the lead in the bottom of the second as Joel Zakahi executed a safety squeeze to score Derek Zwier to make it 2-1.

In the third inning the Lancers extended the lead as Nate Wottring roped a double past the third baseman. He scored later off a sacrifice fly by Chris Burdette.

After giving up the home run to lead off the game, senior Chay Bailey settled down and pitched four scoreless innings. He ran into some trouble in the sixth inning giving way to the bullpen.

The shaky bullpen performance and costly errors in the final two innings were all that Huntington needed to grab the 6-4 victory. Brian Kirschbaum came on to get the save for Huntington as he closed the door on the Lancer threat in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chris Burdette led the Lancers in the second game, going 2 for 3 with an RBI.

Grace will play at home on Thursday afternoon against Bethel College. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


Grace Reaches the 10-Win Mark

3/27/10

GOSHEN, Ind. – After totaling just 10 wins in the 2009 season, the Lancers (10-11; 2-4) have already earned 10 wins in their 2010 campaign -- and it's only March.

Grace reached double-digit wins when they split their doubleheader with Goshen on Saturday. Grace lost the first game 7-6 and won the second game 1-0, completing their four-game season series with the Maple Leafs (8-16; 2-2 MCC) and tying them 2-2 overall.

The Lancers won the second game 1-0, scoring the contest's only run in the top of the second inning. Jeff Himes hit an RBI single to score Derek Zwier, who got on base because of a fielder's choice. Grace tried to expand their lead but exited the inning with three runners left on base.

Kier West pitched a complete game for the Lancers and earned his first shutout of his collegiate career. The freshman pitcher tallied seven strikeouts, gave up just four hits and only had one walk.

Grace had seven hits in the second game, led by Christopher Reeves who went 2 for 3.

In the first game, the Lancers started off strong, scoring three runs in the first inning and one run in the top of the fourth inning. The Lancers capitalized off of three Maple Leaf errors in the first inning, and Ryan Eakins hit an RBI single to score Brent Easterday in the top of the fourth. Grace, however, blew their lead in the bottom of the fourth and gave up five Goshen runs to go down 6-4.

But the Lancers' top of the order came up strong in the fifth inning to tally two more runs of their own and tie the game 6-6. Nate Wottring hit an RBI double to score Kyle Knapp, who also got on base with a double; and Josh Petry laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Wottring. But Goshen scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the victory.

Nate Wottring led the Lancers in the first game, going 2 for 4. Grace had seven hits in the first game.

Derek Zwier relieved Joel Zakahi on the mound in the fifth inning and only gave up one earned run.

Grace will continue conference play at home against Huntington on Tuesday. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


Lancers Earn First Conference Victory

3/26/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team earned their first conference victory of the season on Friday.

After losing the first game 12-2, the Lancers (9-10; 1-3 MCC) defeated Goshen 9-5 in the second game of their doubleheader to move within one victory of last year’s win total (10).

Grace built a 9-0 lead in the first four innings with the help of Nate Wottring’s three-run homer to left field in the bottom of the fourth. The Maple Leafs (7-15; 1-1 MCC) made a late charge and scored four runs in the seventh inning but couldn’t complete their comeback.

Freshman Christopher Valentine pitched an excellent game for the Lancers, lasting until the top of the seventh inning and only giving up two runs and seven hits. He had four strikeouts on the day and threw 106 pitches.

Chris Burdette and Michael Clark led the way for Grace offensively, each going 3 for 4 in game two, while Josh Petry went 2 for 3. Wottring had 3 RBIs, Clark and Brent Easterday tallied two, and Burdette and Petry each had one.

In the first game, the Lancers entered the fourth inning with the score tied 2-2 before the Maple Leafs scored three in the top of the fourth and six more in seventh to run away with the victory. Matt Helm had all of Grace’s nine strikeouts from the mound.

Clark went 2 for 3, Wottring went 2 for 4, and Derek Zwier and Petry each went 1 for 3. Clark and Zwier both had an RBI.

Clark was Grace’s standout player on the evening, going a combined 5 for 7 with three RBIs.

The Lancers will complete their four-game series against the Maple Leafs when they travel to Goshen on Saturday. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.


Grace Drops Conference Opener

3/23/10

UPLAND, Ind. — Grace opened conference play on Tuesday and dropped both games in their doubleheader to Taylor University, who is currently on a 11-game winning streak and is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll. The Lancers (8-9; 0-2 MCC) lost the first game 11-1 and the second game 12-2.

Grace battled with the Trojans (16-3; 2-0 MCC) for the first four innings of the game. In the top of the fourth, Josh Petry blasted a home run to left field to tie the game 1-1. Taylor, however, picked up a run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, and then exploded in the fifth to tally nine more runs and run-rule the Lancers.

The Trojans outhit Grace 11-7. Nine of their hits were in the fifth inning.

Nate Wottring and Chris Burdette both went 2 for 2 from the plate.

In the second game, Taylor got up early on Grace. They picked up three runs in the first inning and nine runs in the last three innings. The Lancers got on the board in the top of the fifth when Michael Clark had an RBI base hit to score Ryan Eakins. Eakins also picked up an RBI in the sixth inning when he grounded out to the pitcher to score Burdette.

Brent Easterday went 2 for 3 in the second game.

Grace will continue conference play in their doubleheader at home against Goshen College on Thursday.


Lancers Come Up Short Against Dakota Wesleyan

3/20/10

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Grace's baseball team dropped both games of their doubleheader against Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday to conclude their spring break trip.

Dakota Wesleyan took advantage of a huge inning to break the game open. They scored four runs in the third inning against starter Kier West, including a three-run home run. The Lancers (8-7) did their best to keep the game close with three runs in the last two innings, but the Tigers' bats were too much as they won 9-3.

Jeff Himes led the Lancers with two hits and a run scored.

The second game was a different story. Grace's defense was much better, only allowing a single runner to plate for the Tigers. Christopher Valentine's six-hit performance on the mound led Grace. However, Grace's bats continued to stay cold. Christopher Burdette had the only hit of the game as the Lancers fell for a tough 1-0 loss.

The Lancers now transition into the conference season. Grace will face Mid-Central College Conference foe Taylor University in Upland, Ind., on Tuesday. The doubleheader will start at 1 p.m.


Zakahi Pitches Strong in Return, Grace Loses

3/19/10

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Senior Joel Zakahi took the mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago and threw well. However, Dakota Wesleyan proved too strong for Grace, as they fell 12-2 in six innings.

Zakahi faced 17 batters in four full innings, giving up three hits and zero walks. He struck out four batters and only allowed one earned run to cross the plate in his comeback.

Unfortunately, Dakota Wesleyan broke out for a 10-run fifth inning against Grace's bullpen. Nine of their 12 hits came in that fifth inning and Grace was 10-run ruled for the second time on their spring break trip.

Reagan Eakins played well on the plate, going 2-2 with an RBI.

The Lancers play Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 9 a.m. to conclude their trip to Clearwater.


Lancers Split Doubleheader Against Dordt

3/18/10

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Grace continued its strong performance on its spring break trip with a split against Dordt College on Thursday.

In the first game, freshman Matt Helm took the mound for the Lancers (8-4) and threw five innings, only allowing one earned run to lead Grace. Andrew Duncan and Josh Petry had RBI hits as the Lancers grabbed a 4-0 lead through the top half of the fifth inning.

Dordt responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to make things interesting. However, Grace's bullpen of Duncan and Quentin Guess came in to seal the win for the Lancers.

Duncan finished the game 2-4, and Christopher Burdette and Reagan Eakins both went 2-3 with a run scored.

The second game started in a similar fashion for the Lancers. Their bats helped them jump out to an early 3-1 lead. However, Dordt grabbed the lead with eight unanswered runs and never looked back.

The Lancers did tally 10 hits in the game, but they stranded eight runners on base to doom themselves. Grace also aided Dordt with three errors in the field.

Eakins continued his hot day at the plate with a 2-2 performance. His brother, Ryan, scored twice after going 3-3, and Nate Wottring finished 2-4 with an RBI.

The Lancers continue their spring break trip on Friday with a nine-inning game against Dakota Wesleyan at 12:30 p.m.


Grace's Bats Come Alive Against Dordt

3/17/10

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Grace's baseball team won its second straight game of their spring break trip with a 9-6 victory over Dordt College.

After scoring two runs in their half of the first inning, the Lancers (7-3) added three more in the third inning, taking advantage of a walk, a hit by pitch and two wild pitches by Dordt to get runners on base. From there, Brent Easterday and Derek Zwier knocked in runs to put Grace ahead comfortably.

Dordt made a comeback in the fourth inning with five runs in the fourth inning, but Michael Clark pitched himself out of the jam and finished the game to secure the win for Grace.

Zwier and Andrew Duncan both went 3-4 on the day with an RBI, and Ryan Eakins finished 2-3.

The Lancers play Dordt again in a doubleheader on Thursday.


Valentine Leads Grace on the Mound

3/16/10

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Freshman Christopher Valentine had five strikeouts in six innings to lead Grace's baseball team to a 5-3 victory over Dordt College.

After the Lancers fell behind 0-1 in the first two innings, Grace's offense rebounded in the third inning with four runs. Jeff Himes hit a triple to start off the inning, and Ryan Eakins singled him in to knot the score. With the bases loaded, Josh Petry drew a walk to put Grace out in front for good.

Valentine threw into the seventh inning before Andrew Duncan sealed the deal, shutting the door on Dordt's rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Duncan had a productive day at the plate, too, going 1-3 with a double and an RBI. Eakins also went 1-2.


Montreat Blanks Lancers

3/16/10

CLEARWATER, Fla. — In Grace's first game on their spring break trip to Clearwater, Fla., the Lancers (5-3) fell apart in the final innings, falling to Montreat College 10-0.

The game started as a pitcher's duel, with Kier West holding Montreat to a single run through the first four innings.

However, the Cavaliers used a three-run inside-the-park home run to spark their offense in the fifth inning and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. They added five straight hits in the next inning and, aided by a pair of Grace errors, pushed across six more runs to win by the 10-run rule.

The Lancers fell to 5-3 on the year.


Grace Handles Holy Cross in Home Opener

3/12/10

WINONA LAKE, Ind. — The Grace College baseball team dominated Holy Cross College in its home opener at Miller Field, winning 10-1 in nine innings. Five players recorded two hits for the Lancers.

Grace freshman Matt Helm got the start on the mound. He went two innings, giving up one unearned run in the first off a throwing error. The Lancers (5-2) responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Nate Wottring drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly, and sophomore Josh Petry added the Lancers' second run as he drove in junior Michael Clark.

The Lancers never looked back as they scored five runs in the third to extend their lead to 7-1. Grace’s Kier West picked up his first collegiate win as he went two innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.

Clark gave the Lancers a 10-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth as he hit a two-out, two-run triple. Brent Easterday and Derek Zwier also added two hits each for Grace.

The Lancers will resume their season on March 15 as they head to Clearwater, Fla., for their spring break trip.


Lancers' Rally Comes Up Just Short

3/7/10

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Spalding University Golden Eagles ended Grace’s baseball team's three-game winning streak as they defeated the Lancers, 5-4.

The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The Lancers started to comeback in the bottom of the seventh as they scored two runs. Spalding added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, which would prove to be vital. Grace scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth but fell one run short.

Nate Wottring continued to produce for Grace as he went 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Senior Ryan Eakins also scored two runs on the day.

Junior pitcher Michael Clark took the hill for Grace (4-2) and got the loss as he gave up four runs in five innings.

The Lancers will resume play at home as they face Holy Cross College on March 12, at 12 p.m.


Lancers Score Early in Win over Defiance

3/5/10

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Grace's baseball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on Friday against Defiance College and never looked back to win 7-3.

Sophomore catcher Josh Petry hit a three-run home run to spark Grace's early lead, and freshman Christopher Valentine, a Lakeland Christian Academy product, picked up his first collegiate win on the mound for the Lancers (4-1).

Grace scored single runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings. Sophomore Nate Wottring continued his hot start to the season, going 3-4 with 4 RBIs. Valentine threw six innings in his first start, collecting four strikeouts and giving up four hits to Defiance.

The Lancers return to action Saturday tomorrow against Spalding University at 3 p.m.


Grace Sweeps Free Will Baptist

3/5/10

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Grace's baseball team dominated Free Will Baptist in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday, sweeping the Flames in two games.

The Lancers (3-1) shut out the Flames (0-2) in the first game, running away with an 18-0 victory. Nate Wottring and Brent Easterday led the charge offensively for Grace with 4 RBIs each. Wottring hit Grace's first home run of the year with a 2-run shot as part of his 2-2 game.

Senior Chay Bailey picked up his first win of the season, striking out four and giving up a single hit in three innings. Jonathan Vornbrock and Joshua Thorne pitched scoreless innings from the bullpen.

In the second game, Derek Zwier struck out seven batters in three innings to lead the Lancers to a 14-4 win. Ryan and Reagan Eakins each went 2-3 with a combined three runs scored and three RBIs in the win. Chris Burdette also drove in two runs and scored a pair himself.

The Lancers return to action Friday for a nine-inning game against Defiance College at 8 pm.


Lancers Open Season at Rent One Park

2/27/10

MARION, Ill. -- After weather cancelled Grace's baseball opener in Nashville, Tenn., the Lancers played their first doubleheader of the season in Marion, Ill., against Principia College on Saturday at Rent One Park -- the home of the minor league Southern Illinois Miners.

The Lancers (1-1) split the doubleheader with Principia, taking the first game 9-1 and falling in the second 8-4. Junior pitcher Michael Clark dominated the Cougars (1-1) in the opener. He pitched five innings, allowing one run and striking out nine, including a stretch of five straight to get the win for the Lancers.

Grace held a 3-0 lead through the first three innings before the Lancers ran away with the game in the fourth, highlighted by a three-run double by Brent Easterday. Nate Wottring went 2-3 with two runs and two RBIs, Andrew Duncan knocked in a pair of runs and Jake Fitzgerald scored twice in the opener.

In the second game, the Cougars jumped out to a 6-0 lead in Kier West's Lancer pitching debut and never looked back. Grace started to claw back in the game late, but they left runners in scoring positions in the last two innings to end the threat. Wottring was strong at the plate again going 2-4, and Kyle Knapp was 2-3 with a triple.

The Lancers will return to action Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.