XENIA, Ohio - The Saginaw Valley State University baseball team endured a roller coaster of an opening game in the 2014 GLIAC Baseball Tournament against the Wayne State Warriors. After SVSU led early and by as many as 10 runs, the Warriors came back to take a lead by scoring 11 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Cardinals would get a clutch home run from Tyler Schwanz to re-gain the lead by a run and added another to hold-off the Wayne State comeback and claim a 15-13 victory.
In a game that featured 33 hits, 28 runs and 385 total pitches thrown, the game lasted three hours and 18 minutes.
The Cardinals scored an early run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Schwanz doubled with two outs and advanced to third on a wild pitch. A Dylin Eschenburg single through the right side scored Schwanz with the game's first run.
SVSU increased its lead to 4-0 with a trio of runs in the top of the fourth inning. After a leadoff walk to Kyle Kaufmann, Luke Valutis snuck one by the shortstop who was moving to cover second base to set up a first and third with nobody out. That brought Schwanz to the plate and he knocked a single to right field, scoring Kaufmann. An Eschenburg sac bunt moved the runners up to second and third with one out. Richard Guglielmi followed with a single to center field that scored Valutis and Schwanz.
Wayne State's Cameron Walker would hit a two-run homer in the bottom half of the fourth, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
In the top of the fifth, the Cards pushed the lead to 5-2 as Kaufmann singled and Valutis followed with a triple to left-center to score him from first.
Saginaw Valley would hold the Warriors scoreless in the bottom of the fifth and would open the game up in the top of the sixth inning. The Cardinals used five hits, three walks, a hit-by pitch and a pair of sacrifice flies to score seven runs and take a commanding 12-2 lead.
Wayne State would respond in a big way, though, and push 11 runs across in the bottom half of the inning to take its first lead of the game at 13-12. The Warriors scored 10 of the 11 runs with two outs in the inning.
That lead wouldn't hold true for long. Schwanz would come up big once more, this time in the top of the seventh, drilling a 2-1 pitch deep over the left-center fence to score himself and Valutis, who reached base right before him on a single. That gave the Cardinals a 14-13 lead.
Cardinal reliever D.J. Reetz held Wayne scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, carrying the team into the ninth with the one run lead.
In the top of the ninth, Schwanz would come through once more for SVSU. With one out, he ripped another RBI single to score Kaufmann, giving the Cards a two-run cushion at 15-13. That's what the score would be heading into the bottom half of the inning.
The Cardinals brought in starting pitcher Andrew Geese to save the game, as he relieved Reetz after he threw 2.1 scoreless innings.
Geese would make quick work of the Warriors, overcoming a one-out walk to face just four batters and seal the 15-13 victory for the Cards. It was Geese's first-career save in his first-ever relief appearance.
Schwanz's big day at the plate included a career-high five hits in six at-bats, a home run, double and five RBIs. He added four runs scored. Valutis was 4-for-6 with a triple, three runs and two RBIs while Chris Perkovich also had four hits with a run scored. The four hits for Valutis and Perkovich also maked career-highs.
Reetz got the win on the mound, improving his record to 2-1 on the season.
The win makes it 14 out of the last 19 for the Cardinals. The 15 runs scored is the most ever for SV in the GLIAC Tournament. It surpasses the mark put up in the team's 14-7 win over Ashland in the 2011 league tournament.
Saginaw Valley (20-23) will play the winner of the Lake Erie College versus Tiffin University game, which is the final game scheduled to be played on Thursday. Friday's game will be played at 5:30 pm at Grady's Field at the Athletes in Action Complex.