It's a great question for Ashland University's baseball team and its fans to ponder – which is more on fire of late, the team as a whole or senior second baseman Stephen James at the plate?
The Eagles, ranked No. 25 in Division II, moved to 20-7 overall, 9-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and 7-0 in the GLIAC South Division, and has won seven games in a row, after taking 18-3 and 9-3 decisions from Tiffin (11-17/5-6/2-5) on Saturday (April 4) at Donges Field.
And James, the reigning GLIAC South Division Player of the Week, continued his white-hot work at the plate. He was 5-for-5 with three doubles, a home run, five runs scored and five RBIs in Game 1, and followed that with a 2-for-4, three-RBI, two-double effort in the nightcap.
In the last six games, James is 18-for-27 (.667) with eight doubles, four home runs, 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Ashland rapped 16 hits in the opener, and got two each from sophomore right fielder Joey Gonzalez, senior left fielder Kyle Brooks, sophomore catcher Adam Vasil and junior center fielder Nick Edwards. Gonzalez drove in four runs, and Brooks and Vasil each drove in a pair.
Junior pitcher Art Warren improved to 4-1 after tossing five shutout innings.
In Game 2, the Eagles collected 13 hits, paced by James and junior third baseman Blake Bellman (3-for-4, double, home run, three RBIs, two runs scored). Gonzalez, senior shortstop Austin Walts and junior first baseman Mike Lewandowski each had two hits, and Brooks had a homer and two RBIs.
Senior pitcher Vince Frate moved to 1-1 following six strong innings in which he allowed five hits, two runs and two walks while striking out six.
The Eagles and Dragons will conclude the four-game set at Donges Field on Monday (April 6) at 2:30 p.m., making up the scheduled second game from Friday (April 3).