UNIVERSITY CENTER - The Saginaw Valley State University baseball team hosted the no. 24-ranked Ashland University Eagles on Saturday (Apr. 11) in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader at the SVSU Baseball Complex. In a pair of exciting, closely-contested contests, the Cardinals fell by a single run in both ends of the doubleheader, falling by scores of 3-2 in the opener and 8-7 in 12 innings in the nightcap.
The first game featured two of the top starting pitchers in the GLIAC, as SVSU's Scott Sency and Ashland's Jake Baldwin entered the start with a combined record of 9-0 and the game did not disappoint.
Ashland hopped out to a 3-0 lead to begin the scoring for the game, scoring a run in the top of the first inning and two more in the top half of the third.
The Cardinals responded with a run in the bottom of the third, as Richard Guglielmi ripped an RBI single through the left side to score Brad Schalk. Schalk had a one-out infield single to get things rolling for SV.
Saginaw Valley added another run in its half of the fifth inning, with Schalk serving as the ignitor again with another one-out single. After he stole second and moved up to third on a passed ball, a Brendan Harrison single to left field plated him with the second run, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
SVSU threatened again in the sixth inning, as the home team put a guy in scoring position but failed to score. The 3-2 score would prove to be the final, as the Eagles finished for the one-run victory.
Sency (4-1) took his first loss of the 2015 season despite a solid pitching effort. He scattered seven hits, allowing three runs while striking-out four batters.
Guglielmi was 2-for-3 with an RBI while Schalk had a pair of hits in four plate appearances, scoring two runs. Harrison had a hit and an RBI as well for the Cards.
The Eagles were the first to score in the second game as well, pushing two runs across in both the first and second innings, grabbing a 4-0 advantage.
SVSU responded with a single run in the bottom of the second, making the score 4-1. Connor Foley singled down the right field line to plate David Arnold, who drew a two-out walk and was moved up to second base on a Kyle Kaufmann single. Ashland's right fielder threw behind Foley on his round at first to record the third out but Kaufmann had crossed the plate just before the play.
The Cardinals' next run came in the bottom of the sixth inning when back-to-back doubles from Harrison and Guglielmi allowed Harrison to score and cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
AU added two more, however, in the top of the seventh to extend the lead out to 6-2.
The score remained there until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Saginaw Valley had an offensive burst and plated four runs to knot the score at 6-6. An error and hit-by-pitch set up runners on first and second base with nobody out. Kaufmann dug in next and hit a home run that cleared the right-center fence to put three up for the Cards. Chad Carson would later add another run for the Cardinals, as he drove-in Chris Perkovich with the tying run on a single through the left side of the infield.
The game would go to extra-innings from there, as the Cardinals weren't able to convert on a chance with a runner at second and two outs. SVSU had similar situations in the 10th and 11th innings with a runner on second and two outs, but couldn't push a run across in either of those frames.
Ashland got a two-run home run from Stephen James with one out in the top of the 12th inning to take the lead at 8-6 and the top of the inning would end with that same score, leaving the Cards the final at-bat to come back once more.
Perkovich was hit by a pitch to lead things off and he was moved up to second on a single by Schalk. Perkovich advanced to third on a Carson line-out deep to right field, setting up runners on first and third with two outs. A wild pitch would ensue, allowing Perkovich to score to make the score 8-7 and advancing Schalk to second, setting up another chance for the Cardinals to tie the game. Harrison followed in the box, hitting a soft liner to left field that the Eagle left fielder made a stretching catch on to close-out the victory for the visitors.
It was a slugfest in game two, as the squads combined for 29 hits. SVSU had 15 of those hits, tying a season-high.
Schalk had a team-high three hits while Kaufmann had two with three RBIs. Perkovich, Arnold, Guglielmi and Harrison all added a pair of hits as well in the game.
Jeff Schalk (0-2) took the loss in a relief role, as he allowed two runs with two strikeouts in four innings of work.
The Cards fall to 10-14 overall on the season with a 5-11 mark in the GLIAC. Ashland improves to 23-7 and 12-2 in the league. The two teams are back in action Sunday (Apr. 12), with another doubleheader that is set for a first pitch at noon at the SVSU Baseball Complex. The first game will be a seven inning contest and the second will be a nine inning affair.