One of the greatest attributes of the 2013 AU baseball team was the ability it showed to never get too high or too low. No matter what fate handed those Eagles, they took it and kept on rolling all the way to the NCAA playoffs.
This 2014 edition has been tested in that regard. Entering Sunday's game (Mar. 23) at Ohio Dominican, the Eagles had a five-game losing streak and were without a victory in GLIAC play.
All of that came to an abrupt halt thanks to a 10-hit attack, a five-run third inning and some impressive pitching by a pair of youngsters. Add it all up and the Eagles picked up a 9-2 win over ODU.
Ashland is 11-9, 1-4 in conference play. The Panthers are 12-8 and 2-3.
Two freshmen who came through big on the mound were Mitch Cox and Dan Whitacre. Cox pitched the first 4.1 innings and allowed a pair of runs on five hits. Whitacre came in from the bullpen and pitched 4.2 scoreless innings. The Panthers managed only two hits off the rookie right-hander. Whitacre earned the win, the first of his college career.
Ashland had 10 hits and three of those went for extra-bases. AU was trailing, 1-0 when it struck for five runs in the third inning. Second baseman Stephen James led off the frame with his first homer of the season. Shortstop Austin Walts had a two-run single and first baseman Greg Ludwig and designated hitter Kyle Brooks drove in a run each via a fielder's choice.
Just to be on the safe side, the Eagles struck for two final runs in the top of the ninth. Walts had a double and came around to score on a single by left fielder Mackenzie Hampshire. Hampshire would eventually score on a triple by Brooks.
Walts and Hampshire both went 2-for-4 with a double. Catcher Adam Vasil was also 2-for-4.
For ODU, Jossue Delgado, Kyle Suminski and Tony Evans had two hits each. Evans rapped a double.
The loss went to ODU starter Austin Bueter. He lasted six innings and allowed six runs on five hits.
AU will travel to Detroit on Wednesday to play Wayne State.