Former Mt. Pleasant high school baseball standout Max Trucks (Alma College) roped a 2-RBI double in the ninth inning to help lead the Saginaw Sugar Beets (1-0) to a 3-2 victory over the St. Clair (Windsor, ON) Green Giants (0-1) in the opening game of the 2018 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League's Northern Division Championship (best of three) series at Lacasse Field in Tecumseh, ON tonight.
Trailing 2-1 in the final inning, Sugar Beets RF Connor Charping (Western Michigan University) reached on an infield error, while catcher Adam Proctor (Michigan State University) followed with a single, which set the stage for Trucks' heroic double to give Saginaw a 3-2 lead, before former Frankenmuth pitcher Jack Tagget (Kalamazoo College) and former St. Charles pitcher Billy Blair (Concordia University) teamed up to get the final three outs in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win.
The Green Giants had jumped out to an early lead when first baseman Harrison Jones (Paradise Valley CC) singled to drive in St. Clair third baseman Gibson Krzeminski (Iowa Western CC) for a 1-0 Green Giants lead in the bottom of the first inning.
St. Clair starter Jacob Maskowitz (Palomar College) had a strangle-hold on the Saginaw bat's, holding the Sugar Beets scoreless into the seventh inning when Proctor (1) belted his first home run of the playoffs, a solo shot, to tie the game at 1-run apiece in the top of the seventh inning.
Maskowitz (1.08 ERA) would go on to pitch into the ninth inning, giving up 1-earned run on 6-hits, while striking out 7-batters through 8 1/3 innings, before he was replaced by St. Clair lefty reliever Steven Butts (Arizona Christian University) who was tagged with his first loss of the post-season after the one of the run's the Sugar Beets had scored was unearned, as he would go on to allow 2-hits, with 1-strikeout through the final 2/3 of an inning.
Tagget (1-0) picked up the win for the Sugar Beets after allowing just 1-walk, with 3-strikeouts through 1 1/3 innings, while Saginaw starter Ryan Jungbauer (University of Northwestern Ohio) gave up 1-run on just 2-hits and 4-walks, while striking out 6-batters through 5-solid innings tonight.
Proctor was 2 for 4 with the home run to lead the Sugar Beets from the dish, while Ryan Missal (Western Michigan University) finished 2 for 3, while Trucks was 1 for 4 with the two huge 2-RBI's for Saginaw.
The Sugar Beets will now have a chance to clinch, and possibly become the 'Vegas Golden Knights of college summer baseball' while advancing to the GLSCL championship series with a victory in the second game of the (best of three) series, which is set for 4:05 pm at SVSU tomorrow afternoon.