Baseball continues to struggle in weekend series

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The SVSU baseball team has lost nine of its last 11 games following weekend defeats against Purdue Northwest.

The team now sits at 19-17 overall and 4-11 in GLIAC play.

In the first of the team’s four games against the Pride, the Cardinal offense was quiet until the final two innings, and they were unable to complete a comeback against PNW. The Cardinals were held scoreless until the fourth inning, when a fielding error plated catcher Griffin Green and an Andrew Burke RBI groundout scored centerfielder Adam Fitzgibbon, putting the Cardinals up 2-1.

The Pride then added six runs in the next two innings off starting pitcher Mason Schwellenbach and reliever Brian Feinauer, making it 7-2 in favor of PNW.

SVSU was able to muster a rally in the sixth and seventh innings but ultimately came up short. After two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth, three straight singles from Fitzgibbon, Craig Wilson and Andrew Burke notched a run for the Cardinals, making it 7-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases for SVSU with no outs. Green then plated Gerrit Eding on a fielder’s choice, and Quincy Jones singled to score Dean Marais, bringing the Cardinals within two. However, the rally ended there, and the Pride walked away with a 7-5 victory.

Schwellenbach took the loss on the mound, going five innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs. Marais and Fitzgibbon each had two hits for SVSU and Burke had two RBIs.

In the weekend’s second game, SVSU was held scoreless, spoiling a quality start from pitcher Alex Millhisler, and PNW won 3-0.

Millhisler went six innings, allowing eight hits and three runs while striking out six and only walking one.

“I felt really confident on the mound,” he said. “Three of my four pitches were working well, and I felt I was throwing harder than usual, so I had a lot to work with. Unfortunately, we couldn’t string together enough hits to get any runs on the board.”

The Cardinals’ best chance to score came in the fifth inning, when Green led off with a double that was followed by a Fitzgibbon single, advancing Green to third. After two consecutive outs, Derrek Clyde was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, Jordan Swiss grounded out in the next at-bat to end the threat.

The teams returned to the diamond on Saturday, April 14, for the series’ third game, a slugfest that ended in a 10-8 PNW win. The SVSU offense came to life late, but four defensive errors led to three unearned runs for PNW. The SVSU pitching staff also walked seven Purdue Northwest batters.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth, when PNW got two runs off SVSU starter Amani Godfrey. In the bottom half of the frame, Winters’ sacrifice fly scored Clyde, making it 2-1.

PNW then rattled off four straight runs to make it 6-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. From there, SVSU’s offense showed signs of life, scoring one in the seventh, two in the eighth and four in the ninth. However, the Pride kept their foot on the gas pedal in the game’s late innings and added four more runs in the contest’s final two innings, enough for a 10-8 win.

Godfrey took the loss for SVSU, his first defeat of the season, going five innings and allowing five runs (four earned), striking out five but walking six.

Clyde was 2-5 with an RBI and scored three runs, while Swiss was 2-5 with two RBIs, two runs and a stolen base. Eding was also 2-4 with a run.

The series finale was canceled due to inclement weather.

SVSU will look to get back on track next weekend as it hosts Wayne State. The teams will play one game on Friday, April 20, two on Saturday, April 21, and one on Sunday, April 22.

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