On Sunday (Apr. 10) at Findlay, the GLIAC softball doubleheader between the Eagles and Oilers started at 11 a.m., one hour earlier than the starting time on the original schedule. That's done sometimes in an effort to defeat Mother Nature if a storm is brewing.
Maybe that's one way to slow down the Eagles, too. Ashland won its ninth consecutive game in the opener, beating the Oilers, 6-1. The second game was a different story, however, as Findlay scored seven times in the first inning and went on to win, 13-1.
The Eagles can't complain too much about this outcome. They took three of four games from the Oilers over the weekend and are 26-6 overall, 11-2 in the conference. Ashland has won 19 of its last 21 games.
The quick start did nothing to rattle AU starting pitcher Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) in the first game. Knerem ran her record to 18-0 with five shutout innings. She allowed three hits, had one walk and six strikeouts when she left the circle. By the time she departed, AU was ahead, 5-0. The win was the 84th of Knerem's career. She is the program's all-time leader.
Freshman McKenna Galloway (Brunswick, Ohio) worked the last two innings and allowed a run without giving up a hit.
The Eagles collected nine hits in the first game. Sophomore second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington) was 3-for-3. In six games this week, she hit .556 with a 1.000 slugging percentage. Designated player Jerrica Young (Loudonville, Ohio) went 2-for-3 and third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio) was 2-for-3. All three of those players had an RBI. First baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) didn't get a hit, but she brought home two runs. She had a team-high 24 RBI.
Ashland scored twice in the first inning, once in the second, twice in the fourth and once in the sixth. AU finished with nine hits off of UF's Grace Ammons (4-4) who went the distance. Courtney Dwyer had two of Findlay's three hits.
In the second game, Galloway was unable to escape the first inning. She pitched a third of an inning and allowed five runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks. Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne) came out of the bullpen to try and restore order, but the Oilers would have none of that. Findlay scored those seven first-inning runs on five hits. McDermott was charged with eight runs (five earned) on eight hits. The game was terminated after five innings due to the run rule.
No Ashland player had more than one hit. One positive came from outfielder Kourtney Yarnall (Canton, Ohio/Perry) who hit her first home run of the season. Outfielder Taylor Menhart (Twinsburg, Ohio) swatted a double, giving her two for the day and six for the season.
Jackie Messersmith belted two homers and drove in four runs for Findlay. Tori Allen was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Jenna Motuza had a double and a triple and scored a pair of runs.
Ashland will play at GLIAC doubleheader at Lake Erie on Wednesday (Apr. 4, 3:30 p.m.).