EMERSON, Ga. -- The Cardinal Baseball squad kicked-off the 2019 season on Friday (Feb. 15) with a doubleheader in Georgia against the University of Illinois-Springfield, which is ranked No. 15 in the latest NCBWA Top 25 poll. The Prairie Stars used offensive outputs early on in both games, taking both ends of the doubleheader by scores of 8-5, and 11-3, respectively.
SVSU then grabbed a quick 2-1 lead in the top of the 2nd when Derrek Clyde ripped an RBI single to score Seth Stratton. UIS, however, would go for a six run spot in the second and add another in the home half of the 4th to take an 8-2 edge.
The Cards chipped-away to draw the score closer in the top of the 5th, using a Swiss RBI double that scored Mansfield and a sac fly from Collin Winters to push Martin Money across. That made the score 8-4.
The game's final score came in the top of the 7th when Swiss delivered once again, ripping an RBI single to score Money to put the game at 8-5. That's where the final score remained, with the Prairie Stars coming away with the win.
Swiss was 3-for-4 with a trio of RBI and a double while Clyde, Mansfield, Winters and Gerrit Eding all collected two hits-apiece.
Camden Dice (0-1) took the loss on the hill after working the first 1.2 innings, giving up seven runs. Jacob Crossan, John Fantauzzo, and Eric Fritz combined to go the rest of the way and allow just a single run with six strikeouts.
Illinois-Springfield came out of the gates swinging early in the nightcap, taking a 7-0 lead after a single inning of play.
Saginaw Valley put one on the board in the top of the 2nd when Adam Turner punched an RBI single through to score Swiss to make the score 7-1.
After the Prairie Stars took a 9-1 lead in the 4th, SVSU added single runs in the 6th and 7th, using a Swiss double that scored Money and a home run from Joshua Riggs.
Those runs were mixed-in with scores from UIS in the home half of the 6th and 8th innings, putting the score where the final stood at 11-3.
Swiss remained hot at the dish, going 3-for-3 with a double, RBI and a walk. Riggs had the team's first long ball of the season and added a double of his own, going 2-for-4.
From Head Coach Steve Jaksa
"We were able to play quite a few guys today in the doubleheader and really see what they can do. We played two complete games, getting some good performances on the mound out of some of our players. I really like what I saw from a defensive standpoint and several guys swung the bat really well against some really good arms. Even though we didn't get the wins, we did some good things and we will continue to get better. We can't let up and need to get out there tomorrow and give the same effort as we did today!"
The two teams will face-off in a single, nine-inning game on Saturday (Feb. 16) at noon to wrap-up the weekend series.
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