'Lopes win series finale at ULM - CBS 5 - KPHO

'Lopes win series finale at ULM

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

It has been 16 years since the Grand Canyon University baseball team (1-2) competed at the Division I level, and the Antelopes today picked up their first D-I win since that 1998 season after defeating the University of Louisiana at Monroe (2-1), 7-1, at Warhawk Field in Monroe, La. Today's game was the series finale between the two teams, who were meeting for the first time since 1971.

Click here for Michael Potter's postgame interview with assistant coach Nathan Choate.

The game was tied at one for the first six innings before the 'Lopes used a couple of hits, including Matt Haggerty's first-career home run, to break the tie in the seventh and give starter Coley Bruns the 4-1 cushion. Bruns struck out a career-best 10 batters while allowing just one run on five hits without issuing a walk in a career-high-tying 8.0 solid innings of work to pick up his first win of the season.

"We needed that today," said head coach Andy Stankiewicz. "We had two tough games prior to this. Coley stepped up big today. His fastball was down, and his change up and slider were working. It sure is going to make this flight back to the west coast much better."

Bruns retired nine straight batters beginning with the last out of the fourth that stretched into the seventh inning with two outs on the board.

Jaren Drummond and Scott Serigstad, making his first appearance for GCU, combined for a perfect ninth inning, bringing the 'Lopes relievers' total to 5.2 scoreless frames over the three-game series.

David Walker led the offensive efforts with two hits and two runs scored, while Jon Kealoha had two RBI. Kealoha, Chad De La Guerra, Brian Kraft, and Haggerty also added a hit for GCU.

"It is nice to get that first win out of the way," added Stankiewicz. "I'm excited for Coley and for these guys to be a part of this win that is first at the Division I level since the program was last in the WAC. Matt had a big pinch-hit homer right there in the seventh, and that kind of got the ball rolling for us. Baseball is a momentum game, and that really turned things in our favor."

"David is so fast and puts so much pressure on the defense, and we are challenging him a lot to be a line drive, hard ground ball hitter," Stankiewicz explained. "He has done a nice job for us this weekend."

The 'Lopes wasted no time in getting on the board, with Walker drawing a first-inning leadoff walk, moving to second on a failed pickoff attempt, and taking third on a well-executed sacrifice bunt from Kealoha. De La Guerra then plated Walker with an RBI single to left field to make it 1-0 before a pickoff and groundout ended the frame for ULM.

The Warhawks answered with a run that was also scored by their leadoff hitter, who singled and then stole second and third base before crossing home plate on a throwing error.

The teams traded zeroes for the next five innings, during which time GCU made a couple of key defensive plays to keep the game tied as both had runners in scoring position during that span.

Haggerty broke that scoreless stretch after putting a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence to open the seventh inning and put GCU ahead 2-1. The next two batters, Josh Meyer and Chris Lindmark, reached base via a walk and hit by pitch still with no outs on the board. Walker moved both runners one base with a nicely placed sacrifice bunt and Meyer crossed home on an error by the ULM catcher to make it 3-1 with just one out and Lindmark on third base.

Kealoha plated Lindmark with a bloop single into left field and moved to second on a groundout by De la Guerra, but was caught attempting to steal third base to end the inning.

The 'Lopes made it a six-run contest in the ninth after scoring three, two of which were aided by a couple of wild pitches and an errant pickoff attempt at first base.

GCU will now travel back west for a single game at Fresno State on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. (Arizona time). Fans can follow the action live by visiting www.gculopes.com.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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