The SVSU baseball team split its series against GLIAC newcomer Davenport University this past weekend, winning the first two games before dropping the final two.
In the series’ first game on Thursday, March 29, a complete game five-hit gem thrown by sophomore Amani Godfrey propelled SVSU to a 5-2 win over the Panthers. Godfrey allowed just one run in the second inning and one in the seventh to advance his record to 4-0 on the season. He struck out two in the contest.
The SVSU offense was quiet until the fourth inning, when junior Derrek Clyde scored on a throwing error by Davenport’s pitcher on an attempted pick-off move. The errant throw was one of five errors committed by the Panthers in the game.
“That is how a lot of games are won, in all sports,” head coach Chris Ebright said. “Take advantage of the other team’s mistakes, and the majority of the time you will win.”
SVSU also added two runs in the sixth and two in the eighth to extend its lead and secure the win.
Left fielder Collin Winters was 2-4 at the plate and scored a run, while catcher Todd Paperd was 3-4 with two RBIs to pace the Cardinals at the plate.
Game two finished very similarly, with SVSU again having an outstanding pitching performance and timely offense to top Davenport 6-2.
Sophomore Mason Schwellenbach notched his third win of the season on the mound, going six strong allowing just three hits, no runs and striking out nine.
“I felt confident throwing all my pitches,” Schwellenbach said. “I had good life on my fastball and a sharp break to my curveball. I thought it kept them off balance, because all my pitches were working.”
Shortstop Jordan Swiss accounted for the game’s first three runs, notching an RBI groundout in the first inning and a two-RBI triple in the third to put SVSU up 3-0.
Sophomore Gerrit Eding also had an RBI triple in the fourth to further pad the Cardinal lead.
Craig Wilson, Adam Fitzgibbon, Paperd and Eding all had two hits for SVSU.
“We are feeling good at the plate as a team,” Fitzgibbon said. “We are a good hitting team when we stick to our approach.”
The tables turned from there, as the Cardinals dropped their next two games to round out the weekend, falling 7-2 in Friday’s second game and 21-7 on Saturday.
“(In the last two games), we were the ones who made the mistakes, and they took advantage of them,” Ebright said. “We are usually the team applying pressure, and they turned that around on us.”
Errors hurt the Cardinals in both games, as game three starter Alex Millhisler was hindered by three unearned runs over his five and two-thirds innings on the mound.
The SVSU offense mustered just four hits, with its two runs coming on an RBI single from Wilson in the fifth and an RBI groundout from Eding in the seventh.
The defensive struggles continued for SVSU on Saturday as Davenport won in dominating fashion.
The Cardinal defense committed six errors, leading to five unearned runs for the Panthers.
SVSU was able to find some success offensively, plating seven runs and notching two-hit performances from Clyde, Dean Marais and Eding. SVSU entered the bottom of the ninth down 21-3, but a grand slam from sophomore Cole Brooks gave the Cardinals some signs of life heading into next weekend. The shot was Brooks’ third home run of the season.
SVSU (17-10 overall, 4-4 in GLIAC) hits the road again next weekend as it plays a four-game series with Ashland. The team plays once on Friday and Sunday, with a Saturday doubleheader in between.
“After (Saturday’s) game, I think it was a kick in the stomach for us and showed what we need to work on,” Fitzgibbon said. “Good teams bounce back and get the next game. I feel confident that our team will do that.”