ASHLAND, Ohio – In the second game of Saturday's (April 30) doubleheader against Findlay, the Eagles snapped a five-game losing skid with a 7-5 win over the host Oilers at Fifth Third Field. Findlay topped the Eagles in the lidlifter, 3-2, in walk-off fashion.
The AU offense got started early in game two, scoring twice in the first inning. Senior Matt McAllester (Westlake, Ohio) singled to right and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Evan Melendez (Amherst, Ohio/Steele). Freshman Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) drove in McAllester for the first run of the game with a double into the left-center field gap. With two down, senior Ryan Avery (Berea, Ohio/Cuyahoga CC) singled to center, scoring Gray.
In the second inning the Eagles plated three more runs. Junior Ethan Houck (Fort Wayne, Ind./Glen Oaks CC) drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Chaz McGrain (Valley City, Ohio/Olmsted Falls). Sophomore Matt Gundlach (Monroeville, Ohio/Sandusky Perkins) and McAllester followed with a pair of bunt singles that scored Houck and put runners on first and second.
Melendez then reached on an error that allowed Gundlach to score and Gray scored McAllester on a single to make it 5-0.
Sophomore starter Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio) used two double play balls to end the first and second innings. He allowed single runs in the third and fourth innings to make it 5-2.
Ashland (26-17, 15-13 GLIAC) tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Gray led off with a walk and went to second on a single by sophomore Austin Erb (Strasburg, Ohio/Hanover). Both runners moved to scoring position on a sacrifice by Avery. Freshman Mickey Manser (Salem, Ohio/West Branch) singled in Gray and a fielder's choice by Houck made it 7-2.
Thomas started the sixth inning and walked Dustin Zielaskiewicz before giving way to freshman David Devine (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson). Kyle Wilson doubled home Zielaskiewicz and Victor Migliore and Nathaniel Fitch drew walks to load the bases.
Junior Andrew Pinkelman (Delta, Ohio/Evergreen) came to the hill and allowed Dylan Cintula to hit a sacrifice fly, but escaped the inning by getting Robert Marsh to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
Wilson had an RBI single in the seventh, but Migiliore popped out to end the game with the tying run at first.
Thomas (5-4) earned the win, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts in five-plus innings. Pinkelman picked up his fifth save of the season.
Ryan Rothenbuhler (2-5) took the loss in a complete game effort. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
Gray was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, two runs and two RBI. McAllester was also 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Manser was the third Eagle with two hits in the game.
Wilson was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, two runs and two RBI for the Oilers (13-27-1, 10-19 GLIAC).
Junior Eric Vaughan (Delta, Ohio/Owens CC) got the start in the opener and pitched well for the Eagles, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He and UF starter Matt Weber were locked in a pitcher's duel early, each putting up zeros in the first three innings.
The Eagles opened the scoring with two runs in the fourth inning. Gray singled and went to second on Erb's sacrifice. Avery's single put runners on the corner for senior John Kuzio (Marion, Ohio/Pleasant), who hit a sacrifice fly to give Ashland a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Shayne Herold (LeRoy, N.Y./Genesee CC) hit an infield single that moved Avery to third.
Ashland coach John Schaly then employed a delayed double steal as Herold got caught in a rundown between first and second, giving Avery enough time score from third.
Wilson had the Oilers' first hit of the afternoon in the fifth – a one-out solo home run. Findlay's second run in the inning came unearned as Migliore reached on an error and scored on a single by Tommy Roush.
With the game tied at 2-2, the Eagles left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings, leaving the Oilers a chance to win the game in the seventh.
Zielaskiewicz and Fitch singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Pinkelman replaced Vaughan on the hill for Ashland and walked Migliore to load the bases. Roush's single to left-center gave the Oilers the win in the opener.
Vaughan (4-3) took the tough-luck loss, allowing just three runs (two earned) on four hits in 6.1 innings. He walked one and struck out two. Weber (2-3) allowed two runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a complete game.
Roush was 2-for-3 with two RBI in the opener. Gray and Avery had two hits apiece for the Eagles. Gray finished the day 4-for-6 with a walk, hit by pitch, double, three runs and two RBI.
The teams will square off in a doubleheader again on Sunday (May 1) to complete their four-game set. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.