UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University baseball team took two games from Tiffin University today (May 4) to start off the final weekend series of the regular season. With the regular season commencing tomorrow (May 5), SVSU has locked up at-worse the No. 5 seed in the upcoming 2013 GLIAC Tournament. This marks the fourth consecutive season the Cardinals will compete in the conference tournament.
The Cardinals (16-21, 14-13 GLIAC) won the first game by a 5-3 final before shutting out the Dragons (18-28, 12-18 GLIAC) for the first time this season in the second contest, 2-0. The SVSU pitching staff allowed just seven hits in the doubleheader.
Game One - SVSU 5, Tiffin 3 - Box Score
Tiffin jumped out to an early 2-0 lead through three innings before the Cardinals answered back in the bottom half of the third inning to tie it up.
Senior Chet LaFave (Charlotte, Mich.) hit a rocket to the drawn-in infield that ricocheted off the shortstop for a base hit to score Dylin Eschenburg (Shelby Township, Mich. / Utica Eisenhower) with the bases loaded. Brad Schalk (Sterling Heights, Mich. / Bishop Foley) scored on the next play, a fielder's choice, to knot up the contest at 2-2.
Saginaw Valley took the lead in the fifth inning when LaFave singled up the middle with the bases full of Cardinals to register two RBIs giving SVSU a 4-2 lead. Saginaw Valley ended the inning on a bizarre sacrifice fly off the bat of Brendon Hayes (Livonia, Mich. / Stevenson) to score Ryan Hotmer (Walbridge, Ohio / Lake), who reached on a catcher's interference earlier in the frame.
From there, Mike Schaaf (Saginaw, Mich. / Arthur Hill) took control of the game on the mound and silenced the Dragon offense going on to pick up a huge 5-3 victory. Schaaf threw a complete game, three-hitter with six strikeouts. Schaaf's victory moves him to 3-2 on the year after his 114-pitch performance.
The Saginaw Valley offense was paced by Schalk, Eschenburg and LaFave who all posted two hits each with LaFave recording a team-high three RBIs.
Game Two - SVSU 2, Tiffin 0 - Box Score
The second game featured a pitchers duel between Dylan Wisniewski (Southgate, Mich. / Riverview Community) and Tiffin's Eric Klepper. Both starting pitchers went the distance in the second part of the twinbill as Wisniewski allowed just four Dragon hits, while the Cardinals managed only three hits.
Despite registering only a few knocks, the Cardinals picked up the victory thanks to the only scoring play in the contest. In the third inning, sophomore Brad Schalk powered his first career home run over the fence in left field. The blast occurred with Tyler Schwanz (Novi, Mich.) on base making it a two-run shot giving Wisniewski and the defense all they needed to close out the Dragons for the 2-0 shutout victory.
Wisniewski got better as his day progressed as he picked up his second consecutive victory, striking out two batters in the bottom of the seventh. Wisniewski moves to 3-1 in his freshman season and appears to have opposing batters off-balance registering 115 total pitches on the day.
Schalk produced two of the three hits for SVSU in game two, with Eschenburg being the only other Cardinal to register a hit. Schalk now leads the team at the plate with a .373 batting average, fourth best in the GLIAC, after going 4-for-6 on the day with three runs scored and the two-run home run.
Saginaw Valley will complete their regular season schedule tomorrow (May 5) at home with a Senior Day battle with the Dragons at noon.