UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Using a walk-off victory in the first game of Saturday's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader against the Malone University Pioneers, the SVSU baseball team added another victory in the nightcap to complete a sweep at the SVSU Baseball Complex on Saturday afternoon (Apr. 12).
The Cardinals posted a 3-2 victory in the opener and held on for a 5-4 win the the second game.
Saginaw Valley jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after scoring with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Brad Schalk stole second after reaching on a walk and scored as Luke Valutis reached base on an error on the first baseman that allowed the ball to roll to the fence.
The teams would remain scoreless until the top of the sixth inning, as Malone pushed two runs (1 earned) across the plate on an RBI single and an error.
It was looking as though the Pioneers would hold on for the 2-1 victory heading into the bottom of the seventh with the Cardinals coming up for their last at-bats.
A Dylin Eschenburg walk got things moving in the right direction, though, and he was moved to second on a Connor Foley sacrifice bunt. After a pitching change, Chris Perkovich was hit by a pitch to set up men at first and second with just one out.
Michael Craig popped one out to shallow left field next and the ball was dropped by the left fielder. With Eschenburg sticking tight to the bag to avoid getting doubled-off, he wasn't able to reach third in time after the drop and he was forced out there for the second out.
Schalk stepped to the plate next and drew a walk, loading the bases with the cleanup man Valutis stepping to the dish.
Valutis would deliver in a big way, singling through the left side and sending SV to a walk-off victory after scoring Perkovich and Craig.
It sealed the victory for SVSU starter Andrew Geese on the mound as well, as the junior southpaw turned in another impressive outing. Geese threw all seven innings, scattering six hits and allowing just a single earned run while striking-out five. He leads the GLIAC in strikeouts-per-game (10.8) and is second with 42 total K's.
Schalk had a pair of hits and two walks in the opener while Valutis had the key two-RBI single at the end.
The Pioneers took an early lead in the nightcap, notching a pair of unearned runs off SVSU starter Aaron Langlois to take the 2-0 advantage.
The Cardinals knotted things up at 2-2 in the bottom of the frame, however, as Kyle Kaufmann delivered a two out, two-RBI double to right field to score Craig and Perkovich, as they reached on a walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively.
SV extended its lead to 4-2 after another pair in the bottom of the second. The Cardinals capitalized on a Pioneer error when Schalk drove-in Dylin Eschenburg and K.J. Neibauer with a single to right field for the unearned runs. Schalk would add another RBI in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Perkovich to make the score 5-2 in SVSU's favor.
Malone crept back into the game when it scored twice in the top of the fifth inning to make the score 5-4. SVSU made a pitching change after those runs and Pete Baumgartner relieved Langlois. Baumgartner promptly recorded the third out of the inning and would end up facing just three over the minimum for his remaining two innings of work, sealing the game for his first-career save and preserving the 5-4 final score.
Langlois was credited with the "W" on the mound, as the lefty worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and four runs (2 earned).
Schalk had two more hits in the nightcap and three RBIs. He has registered multiple hits in four-consecutive games and is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak. Kaufmann added two hits, with a double and a pair of ribbies as well. Foley and Tyler Schwanz each posted two hits in the game as well, as SVSU had 10 total.
Saginaw Valley now sits at 8-18 overall on the year and 5-11 in the GLIAC while Malone falls to 15-19 overall and 10-9 in league play.
The two teams will resume the weekend series with a 10:00 am single, nine-inning game on Sunday (Apr. 13). The game was moved up two hours from its original noon start time for the best chance of getting the game in.