ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University baseball team was eliminated from the GLIAC Tournament on Thursday (May 10) afternoon with a 4-1 loss to Saginaw Valley State at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
The Eagles' season has likely come to an end. They were ranked eighth in Wednesday's release of the NCAA Midwest Regional rankings, with the top six teams advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
On Thursday, the Eagles got a strong start from junior right-hander Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio), but the AU offense could not get off the ground against Mike Saunders.
The Cardinals (25-25) scored the game's first run in the first inning on a Chet LaFave RBI single. The run was unearned after leadoff hitter Matt Hunt, who scored on the single, reached via an error.
The Eagles (27-25) tied the game in the third inning with their own unearned run. Freshman Kyle Vozar (Hinckley, Ohio/Medina Highland) singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Vozar came around to score on a fielding error on Hunt at second base.
Saginaw Valley State took the lead for good in the bottom of the third when Brad Schalk ripped a two-out, two-run double into left-center.
The Eagles put runners on the corners with one out in the sixth inning, but failed to score off Saunders, who tossed a complete game.
SVSU manufactured an insurance run in the seventh inning after a leadoff walk to Ryan Ermers. He eventually scored on Schalk's single to center.
The Eagles brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning after a pair of singles, but Saunders got freshman Stephen James (Westlake, Ohio) to fly out to left field to end the game.
Thomas (7-4) took the loss for the Eagles, surrendering four runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 6.2 innings. Senior right-hander Aaron Hilt (Richmond, Ohio/Edison) tossed a perfect inning of relief, getting two strikeouts.
Saunders (7-2) was strong in his nine innings of work, allowing no earned runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out seven. The right-hander made 120 pitches – 80 for strikes.
Vozar was the only AU player with two hits. Brandon Schwanz was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI for the Cardinals. Schalk was 1-for-4 with two RBI.
Earlier this season, the Eagles swept a four-game series from the Cardinals at Donges Field.
The Eagles will officially learn their NCAA Tournament fate early next week.