The path to the No. 1 seed in the 2015 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament baseball tournament has gotten crystal clear for Ashland University.
On Saturday (May 2), the Eagles swept Wayne State in a GLIAC doubleheader at Donges Field, 12-8 and 10-7, to improve to 32-14 overall and 21-9 in the conference. The GLIAC mark is one game better than Grand Valley State (20-10) with two games remaining.
Another sweep of the Warriors at home on Sunday (May 3) would give AU the tournament's top seed.
In Game 1 on Saturday, the Eagles raced out to a 7-0 lead after two innings, but Wayne State scored five times in the top of the fourth. Ashland countered with a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth for an 11-5 advantage, and kept the Warriors at bay from there on.
Senior second baseman Stephen James was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored, and junior right fielder Mike Lewandowski and freshman catcher Ryan Lowe each had two of AU's nine hits. Lowe added a double and three RBIs.
Junior pitcher Jake Baldwin improved to 8-1 despite allowing six hits, six runs (three earned) and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. Junior pitcher Alex Smith got the final two outs for his eighth save of the season.
The nightcap saw another wild affair, one which saw the game tied at 6 after two innings and at 7 after 6½. The Eagles' winning run came in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single by sophomore right fielder Joey Gonzalez.
Lewandowski was 4-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored, Gonzalez was 3-for-4, a triple, run scored and an RBI and junior first baseman Mackenzie Hampshire, junior third baseman Blake Bellman and junior center fielder Nick Edwards each had two of the Eagles' 14 hits.
Freshman pitcher Derek Baker improved to 2-0 with two innings of shutout relief, and Smith earned his second save of the day and ninth of the campaign by getting the last four outs.
The twinbill took a combined six hours and 18 minutes, and totaled 37 runs, 39 hits, eight errors, 25 walks and seven hit batters.
Ashland has scored double-digit runs in three straight games and nine times overall in 2015.