GV baseball adds third GLIAC win, drops a pair on the road


Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University baseball completed their lengthy stretch of 20 road games since their season opener Feb. 25 after their recent matchups against Purdue Northwest University (1-1) and Davenport University (0-1). 

The March 27 double-header against Purdue Northwest (PNW) consisted of the Lakers winning the first game, 7-3 and dropping the second, 2-7 followed by a 4-16 loss against the Panthers the next day – bringing their undefeated conference record to 3-2.

“We were pretty disappointed, we’ve been playing really well, but we just have to shake it off and focus on the next game,” said junior pitcher Nick Rutkowski.

Game one against PNW saw GVSU’s pitching and hitting work cohesively to capture the first game.

Sophomore third baseman Logan Anderson and sophomore catcher Brendan Guciardo helped propel the Lakers’ six-run third inning with two RBI’s each, while senior starting pitcher Rylan Peets and redshirt freshman pitcher Josh Schell held the Purdue Northwest offense to three runs.

“We have a unique combo of young and old guys,” Rutkowski said. “We have freshmen playing important roles and our pitching staff is older and experienced. We feel like we can always get out of a jam.”

Peets allowed just one earned run on nine hits, with three strikeouts in six innings on the mound. Junior left fielder Kyle Nott went 2-4 on the day with two runs and one RBI, Guciardo went 1-2 with two RBIs and two walks, and Anderson got a pinch-hit, two RBI single in the win.

“After last season, our emphasis was to stay consistent, just trying to make sure that we take care of everything and simulate game situations in practice,” Logan said. “The coaches have put us in great positions to succeed. Hitting is contagious, so when our guys are doing well, we feed off of that.”

The script flipped on the Lakers in game two, however, as the offense sputtered and was only able to muster two runs in the loss. On the other side, PNW crossed home plate early and never looked back as they scored seven runs on 12 hits.

Nott and senior center fielder Spencer Nelson recorded the only RBIs of the game for the Lakers, while sophomore right fielder Justin Mansager and junior catcher MacArthur Graybill scored. Despite the shaky pitching performances by the Lakers, junior pitcher Logan Wynalda allowed just one run and struck out six batters in his three innings on the hill.

The following day, the team finished their road trip against crosstown rivals Davenport University. 

The Panthers scored early and often against the Lakers, including nine runs combined in the third and fourth innings. The Lakers cut the deficit to four runs heading to the bottom of the fourth frame, but the team could not overcome the hot Davenport hitting and ultimately fell, 4-16.

“Davenport is a tough team to play against,” Logan said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes and they capitalized on ours. We came out flat and we have to play our best baseball to beat a team like that.”

Despite the loss, senior relief pitcher Sam Leck played exceptionally well, fanning five batters and allowing no hits in 2.2 innings of work. Offensively, junior first baseman Nathan Logan finished 3-4 with an RBI, while Anderson, freshman shortstop Ayden VanEnkevort and sophomore right fielder Carter Rohman all finished with two hits with VanEnkevort and Rohman adding RBIs of their own.

Coming up, the team faces a busy slate of games with six games on the docket between April 3-8.

“We have to take it game by game; we play Parkside next,” Logan said. “(Every team is) so tight in the conference. Wayne State is really good, great pitching, they can swing really well, and they don’t make a lot of mistakes.”

GVSU faces No. 12 Wayne State University to start the home-stretch in a doubleheader April 3 with the first game starting at 1 p.m. at the GVSU Baseball Field, followed by two back-to-back doubleheaders on the road against the Parkside Rangers April 7-8.