As the deejays used to say on Top 40 radio stations, "The hits, they just keep on coming."
On Tuesday (Mar. 9) in Auburndale, Fla., the Ashland University baseball team won its fourth consecutive game, collecting 19 hits in a 16-9 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan. The Eagles are 5-1 on their Florida trip.
West Virginia Wesleyan had a 6-4 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth inning. AU scored twice in the fourth to tie the game, 6-6 and scored five times in the fifth frame to go in front, 11-6. The key hit in that decisive fifth inning was a two-out, three-run double by freshman infielder Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder). Gray finished the day 2-for-5 with a double and five RBI.
Outfielder Evan Melendez (Amherst, Ohio/Steele), expected to be one of the GLIAC's top hitters in 2011, was 5-for-6 and drove in three runs. He scored four times. Sophomore infielder Austin Erb (Strasburg, Ohio/Hanover) was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. First baseman Mitch Klein (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln) went 3-for-5 with a double and second baseman Matt McAllester (Westlake, Ohio) enjoyed a 3-for-4 day with a triple.
Freshman right-hander Vince Frate (North Royalton, Ohio) was the winning pitcher. He came out of the bullpen to pitch 2.2 innings. Frate allowed three runs on four hits, but just one of those runs was earned. Joe Malfara (Port Clinton, Ohio) pitched the final three innings to get the save. Malfara was touched for one run. The AU starter was sophomore righty Shayne Herold (LeRoy, N.Y./Genesee C.C.). He lasted 3.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits.
Ashland will play a single game on Wednesday (Mar. 9) against Mansfield.