Prior to rain that kept it from playing Game 2 on Saturday (April 15), Ashland University's baseball team used a hail storm of late-game offense, impressive outfield defense and timely clutch hits to defeat Ohio Dominican, 8-7, in 10 innings at Donges Field.
The Eagles improve to 13-22 overall and 6-13 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Panthers drop to 16-14, 7-8.
"It was a good win," said Ashland head coach John Schaly. "The guys kept battling. They (Ohio Dominican) didn't give it to us, they played an errorless game. That was a great win for us."
Trailing 3-0 after 4½ innings and 7-2 after 5½ frames, Ashland rallied for force extra innings. In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles scored three runs to cut their deficit to 7-5. Junior right fielder Conner Barleben (ground out), freshman third baseman Kevin Browne (single) and senior shortstop Brad Hartman (double) all earned RBIs in the sixth.
Then, after junior left-handed pitcher Derek Baker sat the Panthers down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, Ashland came back and scored twice in the bottom of the seventh force extra innings. Senior center fielder Carsten Dembeck and junior second baseman J.P. Sorma hit back-to-back RBI singles to knot the game at 7.
While senior southpaw Mike Gentile kept ODU at bay with three scoreless innings of relief, Ashland plated the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th when sophomore pinch-hitter Ivan Wortman's single scored Hartman.
"Our guys won't quit," Schaly said. "They're going to keep battling. We've been struggling, but they're not going to quit."
Gentile (4-7), who was working on two days rest after throwing five innings on Wednesday (April 12) at Grand Valley State, got the win after allowing a hit and two walks and striking out two. Sorma was 3-for-4, while Dembeck, Browne and Hartman each had two of Ashland's 14 hits.
On a day when the wind was blowing out throughout the contest, the Eagles' three outfielders – freshman left fielder Vince Vanata, Dembeck and freshman right fielder Michael Rogers – made an impressive 10 putouts without an error. The majority of Dembeck's five putouts were of the difficult variety.
"He (Dembeck) ran down quite a few. Our outfield play was very good this game," said Schaly. "All three guys made some nice plays."
Wortman's pinch-RBI single was Ashland's second of the game. Sophomore Tyler Seymour started the Eagles' scoring in the fifth when his pinch-single scored two runs.
Game 2 was postponed and hasn't been rescheduled.
UP NEXT: The end of the now-three-game series at home vs. the Panthers on Monday (April 17) at 1 p.m. at Donges Field.