The Ashland University baseball team split a doubleheader with Northwood on Sunday (Mar. 25) in Midland, Mich. AU, behind right-hander Zach Botjer's (Deshler, Ohio/Sinclair C.C.) three-hit shutout, edged the Timberwolves, 1-0 in the opener. In the second game the 'Wolves ran out to an early lead and won, 6-1.
This was the opening weekend of GLIAC play. AU is 10-8 and 2-2 in the league. Northwood is 11-4 and 2-2.
In the first game, Botjer threw 57 of his 84 pitches for strikes. He allowed two doubles and a single and walked two hitters. Botjer wasn't shy about letting his defense help him – he had just three strikeouts. Ashland did not commit an error.
As well as Botjer was throwing, he did not have any margin of error. AU failed to score until the top of the seventh inning. With one out, Giancarlo Saia (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic) punched a single to right field. Zach Thompson (Marshalltown, Iowa/Cleveland State) followed with a single to right that got Saia to third base. Designated hitter Kyle Vozar (Hinckley, Ohio/Medina Highland) brought Saia home with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Ashland had six hits in the first game. Two of those came off the bat off first baseman Austin Erb (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover).
The victory was the first of the season for Botjer (1-2).
In the second game, the Timberwolves scored once in the first and second innings and pushed two more runs across home plate in the third. Freshman right-hander Zach Wolfe (Williamsport, Ohio/Westfall) started and lasted two innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits.
AU's lone run came in the fourth when second baseman Stephen James (Westlake, Ohio) walked with the bases loaded to force in a run. The Northwood tandem of Luke Bivens and Cody Fenskie limited the Eagles to five singles. Bivens pitched the first 3.2 innings and allowed a run on four hits. Fenskie pitched the final 3.1 innings to get the win. Fenskie allowed one hit. He walked one and struck out four in improving to 3-0.
The Eagles will host Tiffin on Wednesday (Mar. 28, 2 p.m.) in a GLIAC doubleheader.