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

Morawski pitches one-hit complete game, GV baseball splits DH vs Parkside

GVL / Risho Wooten

After a 10-1 blowout over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers on Friday, April 5, the Grand Valley State University Lakers played a doubleheader on Saturday, April 6.

The Lakers lost after beating the Rangers by a combined 29-4 in their three previous matchups this season, GVSU had the script flipped in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader in Allendale, Michigan. In the second game, Lakers sophomore pitcher Mike Morawski allowed just two baserunners in a dominant 13-strikeout, complete game, performance.

GVL / Risho Wooten

On the mound to open the day for the Lakers was redshirt freshman pitcher Owen Avery. Avery has made appearances in four other games this season, allowing just one earned run.

In a 23-pitch first inning, Avery retired each of the Rangers’ first three hitters in order, but the second inning is where things took a turn for the worse. After an error from GVSU sophomore shortstop Ayden Vanenkevort put a runner on base for Parkside, Rangers’ junior catcher Owen Brock doubled, advancing runners to second third. Avery then walked a batter to load the bases with one out.

After getting behind in a 3-0 count, Aver gave up a grand slam to Parkside sophomore right fielder Camden Kearney. Kearney crushed the ball past the right field fence, equalling the number of runs the Rangers had scored against GVSU in their previous three matchups combined in just one swing of the bat. Avery, who was quickly worn down, finished his two innings of duty having thrown a whopping 72 pitches.

Needing to score after early pitching woes, GVSU proceeded to load the bases themselves. Junior catcher Brendan Guciardo reached on an error after a popup was dropped by the Rangers’s second baseman. Then, junior designated hitter Conner McCormack reached on a single. Senior first baseman Jake Rydquist walked, which allowed Vanenkevort to score Guciardo on a sacrifice fly.

The Lakers stranded the remaining two runners but left the inning having still chipped away at the deficit to make it a 4-1 ballgame.

GVL / Risho Wooten

That is until the fourth inning when GVSU junior pitcher Michael Riley, who came in for Avery in the third, gave up a triple after a fly ball to left field was dropped by junior left fielder Ryan Dykstra. The next at-bat Riley was called for a balk, which brought home Rangers’ junior shortstop Joe Hoeks, making the score 5-1.

The Lakers’ bats struggled for much of the game, but McCormack blasted a solo home run, his third of the season, to draw GVSU back within three.

Then, to start the fifth inning, Vanenkevort got on base with a bunt single down the third baseline. The Lakers loaded the bases yet again. With just one out and the heart of the batting order at the plate, Guciardo and Logan both struck out and left all three runners stranded.

This is where things got ugly for the Lakers, who proceeded to surrender eight unanswered runs in the final two innings of game one.

“I mean as a whole I didn’t think we played very good baseball,” said GVSU head coach Jordan Keur. “We gave up too many free bases (in the first game) and that’s been the message all year. We can’t give up free bases.”

Game two of the doubleheader was a story of a dominant pitching performance by Lakers sophomore Mike Morawski and Rangers freshman Donovan Dykas.

“Mike Morawski gave us a giant giant boost that we needed,” Keur said.

Through the first five innings, both teams had surrendered just one run. The Lakers got on the board in the fifth when Vanenkevort doubled for and scored senior catcher MacArthur Graybill, who had reached base after being walked.

GVSU added another run in the sixth when Nott singled. He then stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch moments later. Logan walked two at-bats later to put runners at the corners with two outs as McCormack stepped up to the plate.

McCormack, who had hit a solo homer in game one of the doubleheader, checked his swing on a wild pitch, scoring Nott from third. Believing McCormack had struck out, Parkside threw to first base on what was believed to be a dropped ball strike three. But the catcher, Brock, missed the first baseman on his throw. This also scored Logan and advanced McCormack to second all on the same play. The Lakers were now up 3-0, giving Morawski a cushion of run support to pitch with.

In the top of the seventh, Morawski’s dominance was on full display. He struck two batters to bring his total to 10 strikeouts on 82 pitches. In the eighth, Morawski retired the batters in order and added another strikeout.

He returned in the ninth to finish off a 106-pitch, one-hit, complete game with two more strikeouts. Bringing his total to 13, Morawski had just one walk across a dominant nine innings.

Even though Morawski had a high pitch count, Keur felt like Morawski’s impressive performance earned him the opportunity to finish off the game.

“Mike was rolling, we wanted to give him the opportunity to get a complete game,” Keur said.

After striking out just 13 batters in 2023, Morawski believes that expanding his pitching arsenal was the main reason for his success this season.

“I’ve kind of been like a ground ball pitcher that just gets low pitch counts,” Morawski said. “I’ve developed a slider that kind of is that swing-and-miss pitch. I assume I’ll get more strikeouts this year compared to others (because of adding the slider).”

After throwing more than 100 pitches in the game, Morawski said he felt like his arm was feeling good, but that he would have to wait and find out how it really feels in the morning after the adrenaline wears off.

GVSU will now travel to play Northwood University on Tuesday, April 9 at 3 p.m. in Midland, Michigan before coming back to Allendale for a four game home series against Purdue University Northwest that begins on Friday, April 12 at 2 p.m.

GVL / Risho Wooten
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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism