Cards picked third in GLIAC
March 21, 2005 —
The Saginaw Valley State University men's baseball team is swinging into the spring season with many talented veterans who are looking to improve on the third place GLIAC finish from a year ago.
The Cardinals enter this season again picked third behind nationally ranked Grand Valley State and Ashland in the preseason polls.
After finishing 7-3 in Florida on their spring trip, the Cardinals are looking to do heavy damage in the GLIAC this season.
The Cardinals have an experienced coach to lead the team into the season and try to improve on that third place pick.
Walt Head begins his 23rd season as head coach of the Cardinals with 14 winning seasons in a row, including last year's 26-25 overall record.
This season's team is going to have a mix of leadership in the lineup and on the mound.
The core that will be leading the offensive charge in the lineup for the Cardinals this season will include Seniors Mike Crawford, Justin Hanning, Dan Jones, Joe Funsch and Chris Norton, and Juniors Dale Marsden and Jason Burghardt.
Crawford, who played mainly centerfield in 2004, hit .280 with an on-base percentage of .370 and a team-best 11 steals last year.
Crawford, along with Marsden, will be looked on to provide some power in the Cardinals' lineup. Crawford led the team with nine homers and 83 total bases last year.
Hanning, who started 48 games at third base in 2004, batted .300 with five doubles and 20 RBI's. He also recorded a .375 on-base percentage.
Jones, a former junior college All-American, ranked second on the team in average (.324) and RBIs (42) last season. He also showed some power in his swing, providing eight homers with a .638 slugging percentage.
Funsch ranked seventh in the GLIAC in steals (ten) while batting .280 in 38 games. He also hit eight doubles, one home run and batted in 22 RBIs.
Norton batted .289 with 29 runs scored last season. Norton also recorded 101 fielding assists and 61 put-outs from his shortstop position.
Marsden is a transfer student from St. Claire Community College, where he was named All-Region and first team All-State by the MCCAA in 2004. He will be looked upon to provide the lineup with a powerful bat from his first base position.
Burghardt, a second team all-conference member in 2004, ranked second on the team with a .340 average with a .443 on-base percentage while scoring 26 runs for the season.
The crafty leadership on the mound will come in the form of senior Ryan Reid, juniors Steve Liebrecht and Elijah Martin, sophomore Scott Schlaff, and freshmen Scott Roy.
Reid will provide the fairly young staff with leadership as he brings his 8-3 mark from a year ago back to the team.
He began the season 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA. For the season, he started 11 times and registered a 4.48 ERA.
Liebrecht, a second team all-conference member in 2004, returns to the starting rotation after posting a 3.40 ERA a year ago. He threw 53 innings and started 10 times with a 5-3 record.
Martin, a transfer from St. Clair Community College, compiled a 14-5 record at St. Clair while being named to the junior college Honorable Mention All-American team in 2004.
Schlaff returns to the team after posting a 5-3 record in 2004 with a 5.17 ERA. He led the team in innings pitched with 62.2 and strikeouts with 60.
Roy will be counted on to provide the team with another capable starter who can blow his fastball by opposing hitters.
The Cardinals will play their first regular season game since their Florida trip on Wednesday against St. Joseph's in Rensselaer, Indiana.