The Grand Rapids Community College baseball team struggled to get much going throughout game one, as Kellogg Community College scored early, resulting in the Raiders dropping their fifth game in the last six, 4-2.
The Raiders’ looked poised to take an early lead with a couple of two-out walks until a groundout to the shortstop quickly put the end to any hope. The groundout with runners in scoring position proved costly as a couple of two-out hits put the Bruins ahead 2-0 by the end of the first.
The Bruins picked back up in the bottom of the third with the small ball game as a lead-off double followed by back-to-back sacrifice groundouts pushed across an insurance run to increase their lead to 3-0 at the end of the third.
It wasn’t until the top of the fourth that the Raiders were able to break up the Bruins’ no-hitter as redshirt-freshman Ryan Dykstra hit a leadoff double. Any hope of an offensive breakout was diminished quickly as freshman Dylan Chargo grounded into a double-play to quickly make it two outs before freshman Xander Reisberg ended the inning with a groundout to shortstop.
Luck was on the Raiders’ side to begin the top of the fifth as a couple of errors were committed by the Bruins with one output of the runners on the corner. This put freshman Dominic Palamara up to the plate where he hit a one-out single to cut into the Bruins’ lead 3-1. Following a flyout, redshirt-freshman Caleb Engelsman hit a single driving in another run cutting their deficit to one as the score was 3-2. The fifth inning rally was cut short as Palamara was gunned down at third to end the inning.
The Bruins didn’t care for the Raiders coming back so much as a leadoff double, followed by a two-out single extended their lead to 4-2.
The Raiders had a chance to cut into the lead to make a huge difference in the game as a single with one out followed by back-to-back singles with two outs left it up to redshirt-freshman Camden Keatley to make the difference in the ball game. Keatley began the at-bat down 0-2 and worked his way back to even the count at 2-2, but ended up striking out to end the inning killing any chance of a Raiders comeback for the inning.
The Bruins went on to shut down the Raiders for the final inning of the ballgame as the Bruins secured their 13th victory to improve their lead atop the Western Division standings.
The Raiders looked to rebound after their first loss of the doubleheader, as they started strong with a leadoff single by redshirt-freshman Jacob Gumiey. Following the leadoff single, the Bruins committed an error and came back with a strikeout. The Raiders drew a one-out walk to set up bases loaded, and Reisberg came through and drew an error to go up 1-0 before Salinas grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
GRCC didn’t waste any time extending their lead as they set themselves up with another bases-loaded opportunity, this time with no outs. A sacrifice fly along with a sacrifice groundout extended the Raiders’ lead to 3-0. Dykstra hit a two-out single to make it 4-0 before Chargo hit an inning-ending groundout.
Kellogg began to dig into their deficit as a single, followed by yet another single all with two outs and made it 4-1. GRCC responded with a couple more insurance runs as a leadoff walk, and then an error gave the Raiders a 5-1 lead. Dykstra knocked in yet another run on a single, to give the Raiders a 6-1 lead by the end of the fourth.
Pitching went downhill for the Raiders in the bottom of the fifth as the first five batters reached base as the Bruins cut into the Raider lead 6-3. A sacrifice fly gave the Bruins a 6-4 lead, followed by a single to make it 6-5, then another sacrifice tied the game at six with two outs to go in the bottom of the fifth. Three straight hits and an error capped off a huge nine-run inning to give them a 10-6 lead.
That would be the last of the action for either team as that capped off the series sweep for the Bruins, with the Raiders’ finishing a rough weekend series 1-3. The Raiders dropped to 14-20 overall and 8-8 in conference play.
The Raiders look to get back on track as they take on Calvin University in a special non-conference double-header, Tuesday, April 19, at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at LMCU Ballpark.