LANSING | In what was the rubber match of a three-game series over three days, Illiana Christian didn't let this one stay close for long.
The Vikings hung six runs on Timothy Christian in the bottom of the first inning on their way to an 11-2 victory in Metro Suburban Conference play. Lucas Miedema was 3-for-3 with a home run and three runs scored. Miedema's homer to start the bottom of the second put the Vikings on top 7-1.
"It was a fastball right down the middle," Miedema said of the solo shot. "No movement, just straight, so I just took it for a ride."
After splitting with Timothy Christian on the road the past two days, Viking coach Dan Gibson told his team before the game this was one the Vikings needed. The Vikings responded by batting around in the bottom of the first after the Trojans scored one in the top of the inning. Illiana Christian (2-5, 2-1) used five hits in the inning to plate six, capped by a Cody Koehler double that plated two.
"Coming to our home field, I told the guys we had the momentum," Gibson said. "This was a game we had to get to stay on pace for conference. It was nice to get six and hold that lead."
Mason Schoon singled to start the Vikings' half of the fourth and later came around to score on a Kyle Van Kalker double. Miedema also singled and scored in the fourth, as the Vikings opened up a 10-2 lead.
"We really needed this to boost our morale," Miedema said. "These past two games our pitching has been good. And the defense has been going well so that's good."
Mark Pals recorded the win for Illiana, pitching 4 1/3 while allowing only three hits. Matt Schaaf came in for the final 2 2/3, allowing two hits. With the win, the Vikings improved to 2-5 on the season, but Gibson is optimistic his team can turn around their fortunes with smart baseball.
"We're going to have to play really good baseball," Gibson said. "Really smart baseball. I don't think we're the kind of team that's going to blow anybody out, but I think we can play with anyone if we play good baseball and smart baseball, and we execute."