The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV baseball sweeps DH over Gannon with new HC Jordan Keur

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

The Grand Valley State University Lakers baseball team opened its 2024 season with a doubleheader sweep over the Gannon University Golden Knights. The Lakers took game one 10-2 and followed it up with a 12-1 blowout victory in the second game.

Friday’s doubleheader was the debut for GVSU’s first-year head coach, Jordan Keur. Keur said he has been leaning on his experienced veterans to help establish a successful program.

“I looked toward our guys and asked what they needed and what they wanted this program to look like, but also laid my own standards of how I want to build this program going forward,” Keur said. “Having a veteran leadership group already established allowed us to hit the ground running to prepare for the season.”

After surrendering zero runs in the top of the first inning in game one, GVSU got a chance to step up to the plate. Center Fielder Kyle Nott got the offense started when he had a base hit to left field. After moving into scoring position on an error by the Golden Knights, Nott scored on a double by right fielder Nate Logan. Logan then scored on an error by Gannon’s center fielder, giving the Lakers a 2-0 lead at the end of the first.

In the third inning, the Lakers batted through the entire lineup. Nott tallied another single and advanced into scoring position on errors by the Golden Knights. Then, catcher Brendan Guciardo drove him in with a single up the middle, before infielder Jonas Gulbrandsen reached on a fielder’s choice. This allowed Guciardo to come around and score on a double by first baseman Jake Rydquist in the next at-bat.

After being moved into scoring position on a single by designated hitter MacArther Graybill, Rydquist slid into home on a groundout by second baseman Ayden VanEnkevort. The Lakers would score their final run of the inning when shortstop Connor Schuman singled, driving in Graybill, up 7-0 going into the top of the fourth.

The Lakers ended with a 10-2 win after allowing a couple of runs and scoring three more.

Senior pitcher Nick Rutkowski made six innings of work while racking up nine strikeouts and allowing just two runs. Rutkowski credits the new coaching staff’s standards and early run support from his team for his performance on the mound.

“Coach has his expectations clear-headed into the season,” Rutkowski said. “We were all on the same page as a pitching staff, and when you have as much run support early in the game it’s easier to settle into a rhythm and just focus on throwing strikes and trusting your defense to make plays behind you.” 

Game two started similarly to game one. Nott, again, singled with one out to get things started, followed by a single by Guciardo. Both runners would advance bases on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Gulbrandsen with two outs. In the second inning, there were four consecutive walks, which allowed GVSU to take a 3-0 lead early in the game.

Lakers’ designated hitter Justin Mansager opened the fourth inning with a lead-off single and would later score via a groundout by Ryan Dykstra. 

Gulbrandsen stayed hot, blasting a solo home run in the fifth, followed by a three-run shot in the sixth. The Lakers would score six runs in the sixth inning as both Nott and Logan added RBI singles. Gulbrandsen put up a scorching six RBIs and two homers on three hits.

“I was just focusing on seeing the ball deep and hitting it back up the middle. Coach had us really prepared. We did a lot of live at-bats and scrimmages outside, which was different compared to the last few seasons” Gulbrandsen said.

GVSU ultimately finished off the doubleheader sweep by winning game two 12-1, led by four no-hit, scoreless, innings from pitcher Colling Bradley.

Overall, Keur was very pleased with how his hitters performed at the plate, as the Lakers scored a total of 22 runs off of 21 hits in the two games.

“We had a good approach in the box, we battled every at-bat. There was no easy out. We put the pressure onto them from the start. Up and down the line up one through nine guys came up with big hits when we needed them to,” said Keur. “Putting pressure and running the bases, limiting strikeouts, that’s what our offense is gonna be built around this season.”

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