Baseball team hopeful hot bats, strong pitching continue in GLIAC play

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The SVSU baseball team headed south for its spring trip knowing it would be going up against some of the top competition in the country.

The young team saw it as a way to see how it stacked up as a program at the national level.

The team finished 6-8 but looked impressive against several ranked opponents.

Despite not being outside at all due to weather before their first game, the Cardinals felt that after a productive fall and several weeks of practice using SVSU’s indoor facilities, they were well prepared for the season to begin.

“We’ve had full nine-on-nine games in our field house,” second-year head coach Chris Ebright said. “All of our hitters have had anywhere from 40 to 50 live at-bats.”

The Cards opened their season the weekend before spring break in Kentucky, taking three games from Kentucky State University 12-0, 11-6 and 18-0.

The entire Cardinals offense produced, and strong pitching performances from Michael Ellenbest, Scott Sency and Brian Feinauer were more than enough in three dominant wins.

“We came out swinging with the excitement of the season starting,” Ebright said. “We hit really well and played good all around baseball.”

The following weekend, the team made trips to Georgia and the Carolinas, where the competition got much tougher.

SVSU dropped its first game to North Greenville 9-7, before dropping four straight to Columbus State, the No. 7 team in the country in the most recent rankings.

Despite losing all four, SVSU was competitive and played within a few runs of Columbus State in three of the four matchups.

After a day off, the team got back on track against Erskine, a team receiving votes to be in the Top 25 rankings, splitting a pair of games 9-7 and 6-13, before dominating Montreat 16-3.

SVSU competed well with Quincy, the No. 8 ranked team in the entire country and No. 1 team in the Midwest region, but ultimately fell 5-1.

The Cardinals finished the trip with two games against Indianapolis, another ranked team that beat Quincy earlier in the week.

Again, SVSU was right with them in game one, but ultimately fell 4-3.

In game two, however, SVSU came away with a 2-1 victory.

“We hung with all of these teams and beat some of these teams starting four freshmen each game, sometimes more depending on who was pitching,” Ebright said. “I think that looks great for the rest of this season and for SVSU baseball’s future. I wanted to show our guys where we need to be.”

Against these top teams, SVSU had several players standout with the bat and on the mound.

Brendan Harrison hit .425 on the trip, while freshman Jordan Swiss was right behind him at .422.

Garret Soule was also above the .400 mark.

Ellenbest and Sency both threw well in games against Quincy and Indianapolis, allowing the Cardinals to play close with top teams.

The first pitch of GLIAC play for the Cardinals will be at 3 p.m. Friday, March 18, as SVSU travels to Ashland University for a three-game series.