UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley baseball team has recently played itself right into the mix of things in terms of qualifying for the 2014 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament. With a 6-5 victory over the visiting Hillsdale College Chargers on Wednesday (Apr.30), the Cardinals helped their cause heading into the final regular series this weekend.
SVSU held-off a comeback effort by the Chargers, who scored four runs in the final two innings to make things interesting.
The victory improves the Cards to 17-22 overall on the season and 14-15 in GLIAC play. Hillsdale fell to 16-31 and 13-17 in the league after the defeat. Saginaw is currently in seventh place in the league standings heading into the weekend. The top six teams based on winning percentage in league games only make the postseason conference tournament.
The Cards took an early 1-0 lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning. Kyle Kaufmann started things with a double and was moved up to third on a Luke Valutis groundout. A deep sacrifice fly to the fence by Tyler Schwanz didn't even warrant a throw and would score Kaufmann from third.
Hillsdale took advantage of an early SV error and plated an unearned run in the top of the third to knot the score at 1-1.
Saginaw Valley would do some more damage in the bottom of the fourth inning, going for three runs to extend the lead out to 4-1. Richard Guglielmi had an RBI single to score Valutis, who reached on a double. Connor Foley would follow, stroking a double to the warning track in left field to push across Guglielmi and Tyler Schwanz, who had reached on a walk.
SV scored another pair in its half of the seventh inning, upping the lead to five runs at 6-1. Foley had a lead-off walk and advanced to third base on a Chris Perkovich single to shallow left field. After Perkovich stole second, Michael Craig ripped a two-RBI single through the right side to score the runs.
The Chargers got to SVSU starter Pete Baumgartner in the eighth, getting him for two runs and adding another off reliever Jeff Schalk to make the score 6-4. SVSU would bring in reigning GLIAC "Pitcher of the Week" D.J. Reetz with one out to try and preserve the victory. Reetz got the next two batters out, ending the Hillsdale threat.
After the Cards went scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, Hillsdale pieced together a run off Reetz on a two out RBI single, closing the deficit to 6-5. Tad Sobieszczanski, who had the RBI, then attempted to steal second base. His attempt failed, however, as Guglielmi threw a seed down to second and Perkovich applied the tag, ending the game and sealing the one run victory.
Baumgartner (4-2) got the win on the mound. The righty worked 7.0 innings, scattering seven hits, allowing three runs and striking-out four. Reetz picked-up his fourth save of the season in his 1.2 innings of relief. He allowed one run and had a strikeout. The SVSU pitching staff didn't surrender a single walk on the day.
Eight different Cardinals had one hit in the game and that included three extra base hits. Foley had a two-RBI double and Craig had two RBIs and a single. Both Foley and Craig reached on a walk as well. Schwanz had an RBI single and walk and Guglielmi had an RBI single as well.
Having won four straight games and 11 out of the last 15, the Cardinals host Ashland University in a three game weekend series to end the 2014 regular season. Saturday will feature a doubleheader with a 1:00 pm start and the two teams will play a single nine inning game on Sunday at noon.