TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. - Sophomore right-hander Josh Stover tossed a complete game and sophomore Logan Stoldt delivered a walk-off RBI single to send the Ashland University baseball team to the GLIAC Tournament championship game with a 3-2 win over Davenport on Saturday (May 11) night.
The Eagles (40-11) will play for the GLIAC title on Sunday (May 12) against the winner of the Davenport-Saginaw Valley game that starts at 11 a.m. The championship game will start 40 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.
Ashland has now won 40 games for the eighth time in program history and the first time since 2009.
On Saturday night, after the Eagles had already beaten Wayne State, 10-7, earlier in the day, the Eagles got a bulldog performance from Stover, who saved the AU bullpen for championship day.
Stover needed just 107 pitches to complete nine innings, giving up just two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He used a mix of all his pitches, got ahead of hitters and used his off-speed to force weak contact.
"I was getting ahead early in counts and letting my defense play for me," said Stover, who improved to 6-2 on the season. "I didn't give up a lot of balls in the air. I just wanted to get ahead and have them pound them into the ground with off-speed."
Both times the Panthers (32-17) were able to get on the board, the Eagles answered right back in the bottom of the inning.
In the third, Nolan Bryant's RBI groundout plated Jimmy Filipski to give Davenport a 1-0 lead.
After giving up a double prior to the run, Stover retired nine in a row (with the exception of an intentional walk). The string was broken up by a triple by Kamrin Markwardt, who scored on a groundout in the sixth.
That started another stretch of eight in a row retired by Stover until a walk to start the ninth inning. He got three straight groundouts to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
The Eagles tied the game in the sixth when Stoldt walked and sophomore Dillan Smith singled to set up a sac fly by junior Garret Robberts.
In the ninth, senior Matt Littrell drew a one-out walk and went to second on a groundout. The Panthers intentionally passed Allen and Littrell went to third on a wild pitch. Stoldt then came up and lined a shot through the middle that sent the AU dugout sprinting out of the dugout for the walk-off celebration.
"It means everything, this is what we've been working for all year," said Stover. "We've had a solid year, but it doesn't mean anything until right now in the postseason, so hopefully we can keep going."
The Eagles have a combined 8-1 record against Saginaw Valley and Davenport this season.