The Ashland University baseball team saw a chance to split its season-opening doubleheader at Bellarmine slip away in the eighth inning of the nightcap as the Eagles fell to the Knights, 14-6 and 5-4, on Sunday (Feb. 25) afternoon in Louisville, Ky.
Ashland's 2-3-4 hitters were the bright spot of the day as junior Matt Littrell, senior Greg Ludwig and sophomore Carson Mittermaier combined to hit .667 (14-for-21) with three doubles, seven runs, seven RBI and two walks in the twinbill.
The top of the order got the Eagles (0-2) in the first inning of Game 1 as Mittermaier's double drove in Littrell to give AU a 1-0 lead.
The Knights (2-3) battled back for four runs in the first and three more in the second inning to take a 7-1 lead.
AU scored twice in the third to cut into the deficit, getting RBI hits from Mittermaier and sophomore Evan Lee, but the Knights made it 8-3 going into the fourth.
Ashland again tacked on two unearned runs to make it 8-5 in the fourth, but Bellarmine, which scored in each of the first five innings, put the game out of reach with a four-run fourth. Ashland's final run came on Littrell's RBI single that plated freshman Austin Eifrid.
Sophomore Chance Hitchcock took the loss in the opener. Junior Chris Slavik was the only AU pitcher to escape cleanly, inducing a double play to end a scoreless sixth inning. Brandon Pfaadt picked up the win in relief with 3 1/3 innings pitched.
In Game 2, the Eagles led 2-0 after the top of the third as Mittermaier delivered RBI singles in the first and third innings to provide junior right-hander Devin Peters the lead.
The Knights tied the game in the bottom of the third with the help of an error. The game remained tied at 2 until the eighth when Ludwig and sophomore Kevin Browne each had RBI hits to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead.
Bellarmine's Jacob Mulcahy touched up Peters for a two-run double in the eighth to tie the game at 4 and Mulcahy eventually scored the go-ahead run with the help of another AU defensive miscue. Freshman Micah Allen got out of trouble by striking out Bobby Brokamp to end the inning.
Eifrid reached on a one-out single in the ninth to put the tying run aboard, but a double play ended the game.
Peters suffered the loss for Ashland, giving up five runs (three earned) in 7 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out eight. Jacob Nagel won in relief for the Knights after Hunter Spencher tossed 7 1/3 innings in his start.
The Eagles will start their annual spring break trip to Florida on Saturday (March 3) with a 12:30 p.m. game against Mary in Winter Haven, Fla.