Eagles Pick Up Split on Sunday at #20 Grand Valley State

Brad Thomas
Brad Thomas

ASHLAND, Ohio – The AU baseball team used a six-run third inning to break open the opener of Sunday's (April 1) twinbill at No. 20 Grand Valley State en route to beating the Lakers, 7-1. GVSU rallied in the nightcap to beat the Eagles, 9-2, to win the four-game weekend set.

Ashland (13-11, 5-5 GLIAC) got a strong start from junior right-hander Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio) in the opener. He threw just 75 pitches (52 strikes) in a complete game, allowing just one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out two.

The Eagles opened the scoring in Game 1 with a run in the second inning. Sophomore third baseman Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) drew a lead-off walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. He came around to score when GVSU centerfielder Mike Nadratowski misplayed a single by sophomore Wade Kaido (Zanesville, Ohio).

AU broke the game open in the third inning with six runs. With one out, seven straight Eagles reached base and six straight batters recorded a single RBI. The Eagles sent 10 men to the plate in the inning.

That was all the run support Thomas would need as he kept the Lakers hitless in the third, fourth and fifth innings, including one stretch in which he retired seven batters in a row. Thomas improved his record to 5-0 for the season and lowered his ERA to 3.00.

Giancarlo Brugnoni's solo home run in the seventh inning was the only blemish on Thomas' line in the 7-1 win.

Junior Austin Erb (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover), Gray, freshman Giancarlo Saia (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic) and Kaido each finished with two hits in the game. Six different players had a single RBI in the game.

Cory Baker (3-1) took his first loss of the season for the Lakers, giving up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

In Game 2, the Lakers (14-8, 4-4 GLIAC) rolled out seven runs in the second inning to take an early lead they would not relinquish.

With two outs in the third, Kaido singled home junior John Broll (Mississagua, Ont./Genesee CC), who walked to get on base.

The Lakers tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning before Ashland added the final run of the game in the sixth on a solo home run by Erb.

Senior right-hander Aaron Hilt (Richmond, Ohio/Edison) took the loss to fall to 4-3 for the season. Freshman Jake Baldwin (Madison Heights, Mich./Lamphere) was solid in his 4.1 innings, allowing two runs (both unearned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out three.

AU continues GLIAC play on Wednesday (April 4) at Lake Erie, starting at 2 p.m. The Storm swept a four-game set from Hillsdale this weekend.