ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University baseball team used a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth of the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday (April 7) afternoon at Donges Field to cap off a sweep of Ohio Dominican.
The Eagles won Game 2, 4-2, after toppling the Panthers, 9-1, in the day's opener. The Eagles have now won four straight games.
Hilt started Game 2 and recorded a pair of strikeouts in the first inning before the Eagles opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Wade Kaido (Zanesville, Ohio) tripled on the first pitch he saw from ODU starter Nick Venditti. He scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Austin Erb (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover).
The Panthers (15-11, 7-5 GLIAC) tied the game in the second inning on an unearned run and the game remained tied until the sixth inning.
Ohio Dominican's Christian Prince reached on an error and advanced to second before being lifted for Marcus Schluessler as a pinch runner. Anthony Raschilla drew a walk before Hilt struck out Matt Jurevicius for the second out. John Bowron then hit a single up the middle to score Schluessler and give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
The Eagles (17-11, 9-5 GLIAC) rallied with two outs in the sixth inning, loading the bases against Venditti with a walk, single and hit-by-pitch. Kaido then delivered a solid two-run single up the middle to give AU a 3-2 lead. Erb followed with an RBI single to give the Eagles some insurance.
Hilt retired the Panthers in order in the seventh, getting two strikeouts, to close the game. He improved to 5-3 with the win. The right-hander allowed two runs (none earned) on three hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in his seven innings of work.
Venditti (3-2) took the loss for Ohio Dominican, surrendering three runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Kaido was 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored to lead the Eagles offensively. Freshman Austin Walts (Amherst, Ohio/Steele) had two hits in the game.
In Game 1, Thomas was in control from the outset. He scattered seven hits in the game and allowed just an unearned run in the seventh inning. Thomas had just one 3-ball count in his start and needed only 81 pitches in his seven innings.
With Thomas dealing, the AU offense was consistent and balanced. Every member of the starting lineup had a hit and all but two players scored a run.
The Eagles scratched out single runs in the first and second innings on an RBI single by Erb and an RBI groundout by Walts.
Ashland scored three more in the fourth and fifth innings – all unearned – as the Eagles were helped by five defensive miscues by the Panthers in Game 1.
Thomas improved his record to 6-0 with the win. He entered the weekend tied for the GLIAC lead in wins. Sean Blackburn (3-3) took the loss for the Panthers, allowing seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings of work. He walked four and struck out two.
Erb and Herold had two hits and two RBI each and freshman Adam Urbania (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic) also had two hits.
The Eagles are now in a tie for second place in the GLIAC with a 9-5 record. Wayne State (10-4) is the conference leader.
Ashland wraps up this four-game series with Ohio Dominican on Monday (April 9) at Donges Field. First pitch of that doubleheader is set for 2 p.m.