ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University baseball team used a balanced offensive attack to derail a hot Lake Erie College team with a doubleheader sweep in Painesville, Ohio Wednesday (April 4) afternoon.
The Eagles took Game 1, 7-5, and then won the nightcap, 9-6, over the Storm, which entered the day with seven wins in its last eight games.
Five AU players had at least three hits in the two games and three players had at least three RBI.
The Eagles (15-11, 7-5 GLIAC) opened the scoring in the first inning of Game 1 as senior outfielder Zach Thompson (Marshalltown, Iowa/Cleveland State) singled to start the game and scored on a single by junior first baseman Austin Erb (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover).
Lake Erie (11-12, 7-3 GLIAC) fought back with four runs in the second inning, but the Eagles tacked on the next six and did not trail the rest of the day.
In the third inning, junior third baseman Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) powered a two-run home run to center field to cut the Lake Erie lead to 4-3. It was Gray's team-leading seventh home run of the season.
Ashland took the lead with four runs in the fourth inning. With no one out and the bases loaded sophomore Wade Kaido (Zanesville, Ohio) delivered an RBI fielder's choice. Later, Gray ripped a two-run single and junior Shayne Herold (LeRoy, N.Y./Genesee CC) walked in a run to give AU a 7-4 lead.
The Storm added a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Matt Toth.
Junior right-hander Zach Botjer (Deshler, Ohio/Sinclair CC) got the start for the Eagles and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out seven and walked two. LEC starter Glenn Stewart (0-1) took the loss, allowing three earned runs in three innings.
Senior righty Aaron Hilt (Richmond, Ohio/Edison) struck out Lake Erie's 3-4 hitters (Brayan Cacique and Pat Kilway) with Toth at first base to end the game. It was the first save of Hilt's career.
Gray was the only Eagle with two hits in the game and he finished with four RBI.
The Eagles opened Game 2 with six consecutive singles and eventually sent 12 batters to the plate in a six-run inning. In all, the Eagles had seven hits (all singles) in the inning.
Herold's RBI groundout made it 7-0 in the second inning. The Storm scored a run in the second and added four in the fourth inning with RBI coming from Jae Leeworthy, Kyle Kemp and Toth.
The Eagles added a couple insurance runs in the fifth inning when Kaido delivered a two-run double to right-center that scored freshmen Giancarlo Saia (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic) and Tyler Bires (Lorain, Ohio/Amherst Steele).
The Storm added another run in the seventh off AU reliever Cole Hudson (Dresden, Ohio/Zanesville) before Hilt struck out Leeworthy to earn his second save of the day. Hilt struck out all three batters he faced on the day.
Hudson (2-1) picked up the win, allowing one run on four hits in three innings of relief. Herold got the start and worked 3.2 innings. He allowed five runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Russ Hogue (0-1) took the loss for the Storm, allowing six runs in 0.2 innings in his start.
Kaido, Gray and junior John Broll (Mississagua, Ont./Genesee CC) all had three hits in the game for the Eagles.
Ashland hosts Ohio Dominican on Saturday (April 7) at 1 p.m. at Donges Field.