UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University baseball team split in its final regular season doubleheader of 2014, winning a 5-0 decision over the Ashland University Eagles before dropping the nightcap by a score of 3-2 on Sunday (May 4).
It was Senior Day at SVSU, as the team honored seniors Michael Craig, Dennis Kan and Aaron Woods prior to the games.
Having already sealed a spot in the 2014 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament before the doubleheader, all that was left to be determined was the Cardinals' seed in the tournament and whether or not Ashland would make the tourney.
The Cardinals scored a single run in the bottom of the first two innings. In the first inning, a Brad Schalk RBI single to right field scored Michael Craig, who reached base on a fielder's choice. The second run came on a Chris Perkovich sacrifice fly to left field that scored Richard Guglielmi, who was hit by a pitch to reach base. The score stood at 2-0 after two innings.
SVSU added another pair of runs in the fourth inning. Tyler Schwanz and Dylin Eschenburg singled to give the home team runners at first and second with one out. Guglielmi walked next, loading the bases. A wild pitch allowed Schwanz to score and moved the runners to second and third. After a strikeout to make it second and third with two outs, another Eagle wild pitch allowed Eschenburg to score and extend the lead to 4-0.
A Luke Valutis sac fly in the fifth inning scored Schalk with the fifth run of the game, making the score 5-0.
That's what the final score for game one would prove to be, as solid pitching on the mound secured the second shutout of the season for the Cardinals.
Starter Dylan Wisniewski got the win, going 5.0 innings while allowing just four hits with a strikeout. D.J. Reetz tossed 2.0 innings of hitless relief with three strikeouts to seal the combined shutout.
Saginaw Valley had five hits in the game, with Eschenburg registering two of them and scoring a run. Schalk had a hit, walk, run and an RBI while Perkovich had a knock, a walk and RBI as well.
The second game was scoreless until the third inning, when both teams scored a run to make it 1-1. Schalk had an RBI single up the middle that scored Connor Foley.
Ashland pushed the lead to 3-1 with two runs in the top of the fifth inning.
SVSU cut the deficit to 3-2 with a single run in the bottom of the sixth, using an RBI single by Craig to push Eschenburg across the plate.
Senior Aaron Woods would set down the Eagles in order in the top of the seventh, giving the Cardinals a chance to comeback for the victory.
Ashland would close things out, however, and salvage the split with the Cardinals.
The loss snapped the seven game win streak for SVSU, which was the longest for the team since the 2008 season when it rattled-off 10 wins in a row.
Schalk had two hits with an RBI in the second game while Foley had two hits and a run scored. Craig was 1-for-4 with the other RBI for SV.
David Freed took the loss for the Cardinals. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits.
SVSU finishes its regular season at 19-23 overall and 16-16 in the GLIAC. Ashland is now 24-19 and 14-14 in league play. The Eagles secured entrance into the league tournament with the second game victory.
In qualifying for the GLIAC Tournament, the Cardinals will make their fifth-consecutive appearence in the annual postseason league tournament. After starting the league season off with a 3-11 record, SVSU has gone 13-5 to finish out the slate. Saginaw Valley will be the #5 seed in the tournament, which gets underway on Thursday (May 8). The Cardinals will play Wayne State University on Thursday at 10:30 am to start off the tournament. The tourney is being held at the Athletes in Action Complex in Xenia, Ohio. Stay tuned to svsucardinals.com for updates regarding the tournament.