Even on a cold, wet afternoon, the rivarly between Ashland and Findlay still finds a way to sizzle.
Wednesday (Apr. 24) at Findlay's Fifth Third Field, the Oilers scored seven runs in the middle innings to down the Eagles, 11-6. The teams were scheduled to play two seven-inning games but heavy rains and cold weather changed those plans. The teams played one, nine-inning game. The teams will play a doubleheader in Ashland next Wednesday (May 1, 2 p.m.).
The Eagles have been ranked - regionally and nationally - throughout this season. As of last week, AU was 19th in the country. The Oilers don't have a number like that beside their name, but on this day, they had another impressive figure - 16 hits against some very good AU pitching.
AU (27-13/15-9) was trailing, 3-2 entering the bottom of the fourth inning. The Oilers opened up their lead in that inning by scoring five runs. Findlay got a two-run single by third baseman Victor Migliore, an RBI double by catcher Garrett Busch and RBI singles from first baseman Tommy Roush and second baseman Joe Sickler.
The Oilers (18-19, 11-13) added to their lead in the fifth thanks to a two-run homer by Sickler. At that point, Findlay was in front, 10-2.
AU starter Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio), the GLIAC leader in wins, went 3.1 innings and allowed eight runs on nine hits. Only one of those runs was earned. Thomas is 8-2. Eric Vaughan (Delta, Ohio/Owens C.C.) relieved Vaughan and allowed two runs on five hits in 1.2 innings. The Eagles were able to quiet the Oilers over the last three innings thanks to Cole Hudson (Dresden, Ohio/Zanesville) and Ricky Krieger (New Philadelphia, Ohio). That duo didn't allow a run.
The Eagles finished the game with nine hits. Shortstop Austin Walts (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Walts had AU's lone extra-base hit - a double. Designated player Mackenzie Hampshire (Delphos, Ohio/Elida) was 2-for-4.
Preston Zachrich (4-2) was the winning pitcher. He pitched the first five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. Both runs were unearned. Zachrich walked four and struck out seven. Jon Walker pitched the final four innings.
The Eagles will play a three-game series at Grand Valley State this weekend. That series begins on Saturday (Apr. 27).