WHEELING, W. Va. – Lake Erie earned its first doubleheader sweep in nearly two years with twin wins over Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.) on Tuesday afternoon.
LEC prevailed, 6-4, in game one and then polished off the sweep with a 7-2 victory in the nightcap. The Storm's 13 runs mark their most in back-to-back games since the 2011 season. The doubleheader sweep is Lake Erie's first since March 20, 2012. The pair of road wins also spells the team already improving on its win total from a year ago when LEC went 2-36.
On Tuesday the LEC offense pounded out 26 hits; nine of those went for extra bases. The Storm (3-8) came up with a slew of clutch hits on the afternoon – LEC bats went 11-for-23 (.478) with runners in scoring position. Freshman hurler Hannah Shevenell went the route in game two, logging her best start of the season.
Lake Erie is now 3-1 against Wheeling Jesuit (2-8) over the last two seasons.
Game One Lindsay Valvoda got things headed in the right direction when she led off the opener with a home run to left. The freshman left fielder was followed around the base paths by three LEC batters, as the rest of the Storm inning included four more base hits, including a Darrian Yanek double.
Staked to that early four-run lead, sophomore starter Katarina Davis would cruise. The Storm southpaw allowed just two singles over the first four innings. Davis got into trouble in the fifth and allowed two runs.
After a Maddi Klemp RBI single lifted Lake Erie to a 5-2 lead, Yanek spelled Davis in the sixth. In that sixth frame, Yanek allowed two runs but stranded two more after a costly LEC error.
That sent the game into the seventh with the Green & White up one (5-4). And Lake Erie didn't buckle – in that final frame the Storm traded one for none, scoring a solo run on an RBI double by Hannah Francis and then having Yanek and the LEC defense post a clean bottom-of-the-seventh.
Game Two Hannah Shevenell started the second game and, like Davis in game one, was given the benefit of a first-inning lead. The Storm plated the pair when Yankek doubled home Valvoda and Jeniffer Gratz, who had singled.
Shevenell held the Cardinals off the board in the first and second innings, the latter of which was a bit of a magic act with four WJU batters reaching base. The Cardinals did manage to score a run in the third, cutting the LEC lead in half.
In the top of the fourth, the first two Lake Erie batters struck out, but the Storm then worked some magic in their half of the scorebook when a pair of two-out singles were followed by Lindsay Valvoda's second round-tripper of the day. That home run vaulted LEC to a 5-1 lead. Shevenell would control matters from that point forth. She allowed just one Cardinal run over the final three stanzas. For the game, she scattered 10 hits and two walks while striking out three.
Gratz went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in game two; she went 5-for-7 on the day. Kate-Lynn Urgo and Yanek also notched multi-hit games in both ends of the twin bill at Chambers Field. The Lake Erie offense garnered nine extra-base hits on the day, more than the team had over its first eight games of the year.
Notes: With her performance on Tuesday, Jeniffer Gratz has now hit safely in six straight games. Gratz is 7-for-her-last-11 at the plate and is batting .333 (11-of-33) on the season. … The Storm outscored the Cardinals, 6-0, over the first two innings in Tuesday's action. Prior to the games in West Virginia, Lake Erie had been outscored, 31-2, over the first two innings of games. … Tuesday's clutch performance was a turnaround for the LEC offense. Over its first nine games, Lake Erie batted just .219 (21-of-96) with runners in scoring position.