PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The Lake Erie Storm are headed to the 2014 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on a high note. Lake Erie is now bound for the circuit's six-team baseball brackets with a two-game win streak in tow. The second of those victories – a series-clinching 7-2 win over Hillsdale (Mich.) -- came on Sunday afternoon.
Senior southpaw D.J. Stastny made his first career start in a game that marked Senior Day for the Lake Erie program. The Storm's normal lefty option out of the bullpen gave LEC five strong innings, and bullpen mate Brandon Grunda closed things out with a 2-2/3-inning save. A Storm offense buoyed by a season-high eight extra base hits was led by Lucas Raley (two home runs) and Josh Hudeck (two doubles, home run), who each garnered three RBIs on the day.
Lake Erie scored two in the first on a double by Josh Hudeck and two-run homer by Lucas Raley. After yielding a solo run in the top of the second, LEC plated two more in the home half of the inning to go up, 4-1.
Statstny then worked in and out of trouble in hanging zeroes in the third, fourth and fifth innings. He left the contest after five, leading 6-1, and having limited the Chargers to a lone run on 10 hits.
The Lake Erie offense cushioned Stastny's lead in the bottom of the fifth when the Storm got two – one on a solo home run by Josh Hudeck and one on a two-out, RBI double by Zack DeCamp.
The Chargers came back with one in the seventh, but reliever Brandon Grunda pitched Lake Erie out of a worse fate in that frame. He stranded three in the inning; for the game Hillsdale left 11 runners on base (HC went 1-of-7 with runners in scoring position).
Grunda went on to finish the game, allowing just two base runners while getting eight outs.
Raley went 3-for-4, with season home runs eight and nine. For the series, the freshman slugger went 7-for-12 with three homers and eight RBIs. Since April 12, Raley owns a 1.255 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
Hudeck also had three hits in the game, including his first home run of the season. He has now hit safely in eight straight games.
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