Sophomore Carson Mittermaier had four hits and drove in five runs while sophomore right-hander Chance Hitchcock overcame a tough start to pitch seven gutty innings to help the Ashland University baseball team to a 10-6 win over visiting Northwood on Friday (March 23) afternoon.
It was the home opener for the Eagles (9-5, 1-0 GLIAC), who fell behind 5-1 early. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Northwood (13-7, 0-1 GLIAC), the defending GLIAC champion and preseason conference favorite.
The game got off to an auspicious start for the Eagles as the Timberwolves scored three in the top of the first off Hitchcock, getting a two-run double by Javier Martinez to open the scoring.
Ashland countered in the second as Mittermaier singled and eventually scored on an RBI single by senior Connor Barleben.
Colin McClelland's two-run single in the third made it 5-1, but an RBI groundout by junior Matt Littrell cut into the margin by a run in the bottom of the third.
The Eagles rallied for five runs – all scoring with two outs – in the fourth inning. Freshman Austin Eifrid roped a two-run double over the head of the left fielder to make it 5-4 before Mittermaier cleared the bags with a three-run double to right-center.
Hitchcock (3-1) settled in at that point. The only runner he allowed in his last 3 2/3 innings came via an error. He struck out 11 and walked just three across his seven innings.
Mittermaier's two-run double into the other gap stretched the lead to 9-5 in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Eagles loaded the bases for senior Greg Ludwig, who hit a towering blast to the base of the wall in right-center, but the center fielder lost the ball in the sun allowing another run to score and make it 10-5.
Junior right-hander Ryan Curtis was excellent in 1 2/3 relief innings closing out the game. He retired all five batters he faced, needing just 18 pitches.
Mittermaier led the Eagles with four hits while Ludwig was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Junior Sam Hawley also reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk.
Northwood starter Jake Gross suffered the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked three.
The Eagles and Timberwolves will square off on Saturday (March 24) in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. at Donges Field. Both games will be seven innings.