The SVSU baseball team lost four consecutive games at rival Northwood over the weekend.
After back-to-back midweek losses to Hillsdale and Lawrence Tech, the team has now dropped six games in a row and nine of its last 10 after a streak where it won eight of 10.
“Anytime you play a competitive game, there are so many variables that control the outcome, and for us, we lost those variables,” head coach Steve Jaksa said. “We played a good team, and we were nip and tuck with them in three of the four games, but at the end of the day, they got more hits than we did in key situations or made better pitches than we did in key situations to keep the Ws (wins) on their side.”
Senior Adam Turner smashed four home runs over the course of the weekend to highlight the offense for SVSU.
“I would say the key to my success at the plate this weekend was just staying relaxed and not trying to do too much,” Turner said. “I was just trying to get a good pitch that I could handle and put a good swing on it, and I think I did that really well this weekend.”
In game one against the Timberwolves on Friday, April 12, SVSU allowed a combined five runs in the fourth and fifth innings as NU came away with a 5-2 victory.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Turner homered to left field. After the Timberwolves tied it in the bottom of the fourth, Turner homered again, this time to right-center field, to put SVSU back in the lead, 2-1.
It was all NU from there, as the Timberwolves put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth to complete the win. The Cardinals left two on base in the top of the sixth and went down in order in the top of the seventh.
Junior Amani Godfrey took the loss for on the mound, throwing four-and-one-third innings and allowing 10 hits and five runs.
In addition to Turner’s two solo shots, senior Jordan Swiss and junior Collin Winters each added a hit apiece for SVSU.
In Friday’s second game, the Timberwolves were again victorious as an SVSU comeback attempt came up short.
NU led 12-0 after five complete innings off of SVSU starting pitcher Brandon Wise. The Cardinals answered back with eight unanswered runs, but they were unable to complete the comeback.
SVSU’s scoring effort began in the top of the sixth when Turner homered yet again, this time a two-run shot to left-center field. The Cardinals put up two more in the seventh, one in the eighth and three in the ninth, but it was too little, too late.
Turner paced the offense with two hits, two runs, three RBIs and a walk. Freshman Martin Money contributed three hits, a walk and an RBI. Senior Derrek Clyde had two hits, a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Senior Craig Wilson added two hits, a run and an RBI.
The teams returned to action on Saturday in another slugfest that saw the Timberwolves win by a narrow margin, 10-8. This time, it was the Cardinals that jumped out to an early lead, but the Timberwolves completed the comeback win following a big third inning and just enough offense late.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first when Turner hit his fourth home run of the weekend, a three-run shot to right-center that put the Cardinals up 3-0.
“His approach was stellar,” Jaksa said. “He did exactly what we ask everyone to do, and he was most effective at doing it. He never tried to do too much. He put together a heck of a weekend. Hopefully, he continues to put together those kinds of at-bats.”
After NU answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first, SVSU extended its lead to 6-2 on RBI hits from Swiss and Clyde.
However, NU answered with a huge third inning off SVSU starter Camden Dice, scoring five runs on six hits and claiming the lead 7-6.
SVSU tied the game at seven in the top of the fifth with a Winters solo home run to left field, but NU answered with a two-run shot of its own in the bottom of the inning, reclaiming the lead 9-7. Each team scored one run in the sixth to round out the scoring and conclude the 10-8 Timberwolf win.
“The team played hard,” Winters said. “If a couple of things would’ve went our way, who knows how the result could’ve changed in our favor.”
Saturday’s second game, the fourth in the weekend series, yielded a similar result on the scoreboard, a 13-4 Northwood win.
SVSU starter Kyle Henigan delivered a strong performance, throwing six innings, allowing four hits and four runs, but the monster inning from the Timberwolves came in the bottom of the eighth off of Swiss, who pitched in relief.
Northwood got out to a 3-0 lead early, but an SVSU run in the top of the fourth and two in the top of the sixth brought the game back to even. After the teams traded runs in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, Northwood exploded for eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the eighth to seal the win and the four-game sweep.
At the plate, SVSU was led by Swiss, who began the game at third base and registered three hits, an RBI and a run scored. Winters and junior Austin Koin each added two hits and an RBI for SVSU.
With the sweep, Northwood improved to 23-12, including 9-7 in the GLIAC, while SVSU fell to 13-18-1 and 7-8 in the GLIAC.
The two teams will meet again on Tuesday, April 16, at 6:35 p.m. The game will be played at Dow Diamond in Midland.