AU Bats Awaken, Vaughan Dominant in Split at ODU

ASHLAND, Ohio – Junior Eric Vaughan (Delta, Ohio/Owens CC) tossed the third shutout for the Eagles this weekend at Ohio Dominican in Sunday (April 10) afternoon's series finale. The Eagles won the game, 14-0, after dropping the day's opener, 9-7, despite a furious comeback.


The Eagles took three of the four games in Columbus to improve to 16-11 on the season and 7-7 in the GLIAC. The Panthers are 10-15 and 7-7 in the GLIAC.


Vaughan followed in the tracks of Ajay Meyer (Hamler, Ohio/Owens CC) and Aaron Hilt (Richmond, Ohio/Edison), who both threw three-hit shutouts in Saturday's sweep of Ohio Dominican.


Vaughan (2-2) worked all seven innings, allowing just four hits and three walks, while striking out one. It was his first complete game of the season and the performance lowered his ERA to 4.18.


The Panthers' best chance to score off Vaughan came in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single. But Vaughan got John Bowron to ground into a double play.


The Eagles turned four double plays in the game, including inning-enders in the sixth and seventh innings.


Ashland scored early and often in Sunday's nightcap, rapping 18 hits – including 16 singles. AU opened the game with three runs in the first inning off ODU starter Nick Venditti.


Senior Matt McAllester (Westlake, Ohio) had an infield single and senior Evan Melendez (Amherst, Ohio/Steele) walked. McAllester moved to third on an error by ODU catcher Zack Descenzo and scored on a single by sophomore Austin Erb (Strasburg, Ohio/Hanover). Two more runs came around later in the inning on another throwing error on Dascenzo.


The Eagles tacked on five runs in the third inning to blow the game open. With two outs and the bases loaded Venditti hit freshman Chaz McGrain (Valley City, Ohio/Olmsted Falls) with a pitch to make it 4-0. Sophomore Matt Gundlach (Monroeville, Ohio/Sandusky Perkins) drove in two on a single to right and McAllester's single scored McGrain. Melendez capped the rally with an RBI single to right field that bumped Venditti from the game.


Venditti allowed eight runs, but only one run was earned as the Panthers mixed in three errors and a passed ball that led to several of Ashland's runs.


Sophomore Shayne Herold (LeRoy, N.Y./Genesee CC) scored junior Mitch Klein (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln) on a single in the fourth inning. Gundlach drove in two more runs in the sixth inning and McAllester followed with his second RBI hit of the game to make it 12-0. Klein and junior Mitch Houck (Fort Wayne, Ind./Glen Oaks CC) brought home AU's final runs of the game in the seventh inning.


McAllester and Klein were each 4-for-5 in the game. Klein scored three runs and McAllester drove in two with a stolen base. Gundlach was 2-for-4 with four RBI. Melendez was 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs and a stolen base.


No Panthers hitter had more than one hit off Vaughan, though Felix Brown reached twice with a hit and a walk.


In game two, the Eagles fell behind early as sophomore Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio) labored through 3.2 innings.


Ohio Dominican led 5-0 after three innings and 9-0 after five, but the Eagles did not lie down.


Ashland struck for seven runs in the sixth inning. Freshman Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a single by Erb. Klein followed with a one-out double down the left-field line that plated both and cut the lead to 9-2.


Herold and freshman Mickey Manser (Salem, Ohio/West Branch) were both hit by pitches to load the bases for Gundlach, who singled to center field, driving in Klein and Herold. McAllester reached on a bunt attempt to re-load the bases and Melendez singled to right-center to score two runs and make it 9-6. McAllester tried to score from first on the play, but was thrown out on a relay from second base for the second out of the inning.


Gray singled to move Melendez to second base and senior John Kuzio (Marion, Ohio/Pleasant) singled to cut the Panthers' lead to 9-7. Senior Ryan Avery (Berea, Ohio/Cuyahoga CC) grounded out to end the inning.


The Eagles could not rally in the seventh inning as Kyle Gore retired the Eagles in order for his second save of the season.


Gray was the only Eagle with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Dascenzo and Anthony Raschilla each had three-hit games for the Panthers.


The Eagles got solid relief work from left-handed freshman Cole Hudson (Dresden, Ohio/Zanesville), who tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.


Ohio Dominican starter Sean Blackburn improved to 3-1 on the season after allowing six runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.


Following this 3-1 series with the Panthers, the Eagles will now return to Donges Field for a nonconference game against Mount Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday (April 12). The teams will play a single, nine-inning game that will begin at 4 p.m.