Ashland University's baseball team began the final week of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season play with 7-1 and 11-8 losses at Tiffin on Tuesday (May 3).
The Eagles, who ultimately won a second consecutive GLIAC South Division title by two games over Malone and who already clinched a spot in the 2016 GLIAC Tournament, are 28-17 overall, 19-7 in the conference and 15-5 in the South. The Dragons are 19-27/10-18/7-13.
AU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning of Game 1 following an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of junior catcher Adam Vasil. Tiffin, however, responded with two runs in the third, one in the fifth and four in the sixth.
Freshman second baseman Cameron Nunn was 2-for-3 in the opener. Freshman right-handed pitcher Sam Rice (2-1) took his first collegiate loss after allowing six hits, six runs (four earned) and two walks and striking out two in five innings.
In Game 2, the Dragons scored five in the first to set the tone. The Eagles scored single runs in the second (sophomore catcher Ryan Lowe RBI single) and third (sophomore third baseman J.P. Sorma sacrifice fly) frames, but Tiffin responded with three more runs in the third for an 8-2 advantage.
A two-run single by senior first baseman Mackenzie Hampshire in the fifth and a Lowe sac fly in the sixth cut the AU deficit to 8-5, but Tiffin pulled away for good with another three-spot in the sixth.
Hampshire, the reigning GLIAC South Player of the Week, was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Sorma was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Junior designated hitter Lance Myers, sophomore left fielder Greg Ludwig and freshman right fielder Nic Varda each had two of Ashland's 13 hits, and Lowe drove in two runs.
Sophomore left-hander Derek Baker (3-4) allowed three runs, five hits and two walks and struck out one in 2/3 of an inning.
Ashland will complete the regular season with a four-game set at Findlay (16-25/9-17/7-13 North) on Saturday (May 7) and Sunday (May 8). The GLIAC Tournament is May 12-15 in Xenia, Ohio.