HOWELL, Mich. – The Saginaw Valley State University baseball team opened the 2021 season with a dominating win over Cleary University (NAIA) in a single, 9-inning game Tuesday at Lake Trust Stadium in Howell, Mich.
After a sluggish start, the Cardinal offense exploded for 15 runs from the sixth inning on, on the way to a 16-4 win to open the season 1-0.
SVSU scored the opening run of the game, on a fielder's choice RBI from Thomas Loftus in the third inning. Cleary answered and took the lead with three in the fourth and one in the fifth, building a 4-1 advantage.
With five runs in the sixth, the Cardinals took over for good. The inning included a two-run double from Andrew Burke, a two-run single from Martin Money and another RBI for Loftus on a hit-by-pitch. Loftus continued to produce in the seventh with a two-run single to put the Cardinals up four.
SVSU took advantage of a three-run error by Cleary in the eighth, while Austin Koin came through later in the frame with a grand slam home run to close the door on the Cougars.
Ian Janssen got the start on the mound for the Cardinals, tossing two no-hit innings, allowing just one walk, and striking out three. Hunter Merillat (1-0) got the win in relief for SVSU, going two innings, allowing one run on no hits, and striking out three.
Loftus finished with two hits and four RBIs, while Connor McClennen was on base all game with two hits, three walks, and four runs scored.
The Cardinals travel south to begin play at the annual RussMett Invitational starting against Trinity Baptist Friday in Auburndale, Fla.