Feb. 27, 2012
Louisville, Ky. - The Grand Valley State baseball team, ranked third in the country by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, got off to a winning start on the 2012 season. The Lakers downed Bellarmine in a 2-1 game as senior Kyle Schepel won his 17th straight decision.
GVSU threatened early as freshman Mike Nadratowski singled to lead off the game and then proceeded to steal second and third base. He was stranded on third with two outs, however, as the Laker threat was thwarted with a strikeout to end the inning.
Schepel began his year with a strikeout in the bottom of the first and would get out of the inning with no damage done. In the top of the second, GVSU saw two quick outs get put up on the board before junior Stephen Claypool walked and redshirt freshman Kevin Zak doubled to the left field gap to give the Lakers runners on second and third. A drive by senior catcher Zach Laupp to right field resulted in an error, scoring both runners as Laupp found his way to second base, giving the Lakers a 2-0 lead.
Schepel got in some trouble in the bottom of the third inning, hitting the lead-off batter in the inning. After a single up the middle put two runners on, a sacrifice bunt moved both runners over with one out. A sacrifice fly to left field then cut the lead in half but a groundout would end the inning with GVSU up 2-1.
The Knights would get runners to second base in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, but were turned away both times. Junior Brad Zambron came on in the bottom of the seventh and although he gave up a single, was able to shut the door and hand the Lakers a victory in the opening game of the season.
GVSU pitchers held Bellarmine to four hits over the contest as Schepel (1-0) turned in five innings of three hit ball, surrendering one run and one walk while striking out three. Senior Chris Whitney worked a perfect inning of relief with one strikeout while Zambron earned his first save of the season.
Schepel, after beginning the 2010 season with a 1-2 record, finished the year 6-2 with five straight winning decisions. He then completed an 11-0 season last year and now sits at 1-0, giving him 17 straight winning decisions.
Claypool and Zak each went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Laupp and Nadratowski both went 1-for-3 while Nadratowski also stole two bases.
Game two of the series will get started at 7 p.m. tonight at St. Xavier High School in Louisville to utilize lights for the late game.