DeYonker Pitches Crusaders Past Grizzly; Back-to-Back Wins vs NAIA Top-10
Baseball - Sat, Mar. 11, 2017
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Madonna
(2)Georgia Gwinnett College
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Madonna (12-10)34004020114130
Georiga Gwinnett (17-8)1000005017101
Lawrenceville, GA
MadonnaPitchingGeoriga Gwinnett
Alex DeYonkerWinner-
-Loser Myles Smith
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MadonnaIndv. StatsGeoriga Gwinnett
3 PlayersDoubles None
#17 Matt DeneauTriples None
NoneHome Runs None

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – The Madonna University baseball team scored in the first, second, fifth, seventh and ninth innings to back up a stellar start from Alex DeYonker (SR/Livonia, Mich.) to upend second-ranked Georgia Gwinnett College 14-7 on Saturday night at the Grizzly Baseball Complex.

For the second time this season the Crusaders (12-10) scored 14 runs and they have scored 27 runs in their last 18 innings to notch a pair of victories over NAIA Top-10 opponents in No. 8 Lewis-Clark State College and Georgia Gwinnett. It's the first time in the program's history they have knocked off top-10 programs in back-to-back games.

"I was really excited to see how we would respond after a great win yesterday," said Crusaders Head Coach Ted Falkner on Saturday's win. "The guys answered and it all started with a great performance by Alex on the bump. The offense continued to put together quality at-bats and our defense made every play. I'm proud of how we competed today."

DeYonker was special in his first outing of the spring. The senior left-hander allowed just three runs on five hits in 6.1 innings as he walked and struck out five. In all, four pitchers combined to allow seven runs on 10 hits with 12 strikeouts, the sixth most in a single game in program history.

It helped that the offense gave them some early support with seven runs in the first two frames. Ten different Crusaders recorded either a hit, run scored or an RBI in the contest with Jared Hagan (JR/Dearborn Heights, Mich.) (2-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBI) and Jalen Thomas (SO/Southfield, Mich.) (3-for-6, 2 runs, 3 RBI) leading the charge. Madonna pounded out 13 hits as Matt Deneau (JR/Amherstburg, Ontario) added three and Frankie Lucska (FR/Garden City, Mich.) chipped in a pair while three others had one. MU also took 13 walks in the contest, the third-most ever in a single-game.

It was Thomas and Lucska that got the Crusaders on the board first with the former driving in Lambrecht and Hagan with a one-out single and the latter scoring Thomas with a single of his own.

The first four batters of the game reached against DeYonker, but a pick-off eliminated the first and a strikeout and a pop out ended the opening frame with just one run on the board for the Grizzly (17-8).

In the top of the second, the Crusaders got the run back, plus some, as three hits and four walks led to four runs. Hagan drew a bases loaded walk for MU's fourth tally and Taylor Grzelakowski (SR/Fraser, Mich.) followed with a two-run double deep to right. Lucska tacked on another with a two-out base hit and MU led 7-1 after two.

DeYonker settled in and allowed just two hits over the next five innings, which allowed the offense to pile on. The Blue and Gold added four more runs in the fifth all with two outs. Remington Sancho (FR/Woodhaven, Mich.) recorded his first career hit, a two-out RBI double and scored two batters later on Hagan's two-run double. An error by the second basemen, off the bat of Grzelakowski, brought in Hagan for an 11-1 advantage.

Four consecutive walks to begin the seventh added to the MU lead and Thomas plated another on a fielder's choice as Stephan Parker beat the throw home for the 13th run.

A one out single and a walk in the bottom of the inning ended the night for DeYonker and Layne Gusler (SR/Woodhaven, Mich.) struck out the first batter he saw, but two walks and a pair of singles plated five runs for the Grizzly's and kept the game alive.

Blake Herrera (JR/Apopka, Fla.) notched a strikeout to end the seventh and tossed a scoreless eighth before running into trouble in the ninth. Madonna added a 14th run in the ninth on a Blade sacrifice fly before GGC made it interesting in the bottom half. Herrera notched a strikeout to begin the frame but a single and a walk brought in Zack Schmidtke (SR/Dearborn Heights, Mich.). The Crusader lefty allowed an RBI single before ending the game on a pair of strikeouts to send MU home with a smile.

"It was a great opportunity for us to play against top-10 opponents," added Falkner about the spring trip. "We took some punches, but we never backed down. GGC and LCSC are two outstanding programs and our guys played great team baseball. A lot of growing up happened for this team this weekend. I'm looking forward to getting back to work and competing."

With their spring trip in the books, the Crusaders head home for a five-game homestand which begins with the 2017 home opener on Saturday, Mar. 18, a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Rochester College.

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BASEBALL
Record: 23-17 Home: 6-4 Away: 13-13 Neutral: 4-0 WHAC: 15-10