Eagles Walk Off Cardinals To Sweep Doubleheader

Eagles Walk Off Cardinals To Sweep Doubleheader

The Ashland University baseball team won a pair of one-run games on Saturday (April 7) afternoon at Donges Field, beating Saginaw Valley State 6-5 in the opener before walking off with a 5-4 win in extra innings in the nightcap.

The Eagles (16-9, 6-4 GLIAC) climbed into third place in the GLIAC standings with the doubleheader sweep and dropped the Cardinals (17-12, 4-6 GLIAC) to fifth.

Ashland started the day with three runs in the bottom of the first in support of Game 1 starter Devin Peters. The Eagles' first three men reached before senior Connor Barleben ripped a base hit to right that went under the right fielder's glove to let all three runners score.

Peters was in command early on, retiring the first 11 batters he faced until a harmless two-out single broke up his perfect game in the fourth. 

Junior Matt Littrell delivered an RBI single and sophomore Carson Mittermaier's two-run double gave AU a 6-0 lead through four innings.

The Cardinals finally chipped away against Peters in the fifth, scoring twice with the help of an Ashland error. The Eagles stranded a runner at third in the bottom half as they looked to extend the lead.

In the sixth, SVSU tacked on three runs with two scoring on a single by Jordan Swiss. Craig Wilson beat out a double-play ball to score another run to cut the margin to 6-5.

In the seventh, Peters surrendered lead-off walk – his only free pass issued in the game. He then struck out Gerrit Eding and got SVSU's leadoff man Derrek Clyde to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Peters (3-4) tossed a complete game, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out seven. SVSU starter Alex Millhisler (1-4) took the loss for the Cardinals as he gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked three and struck out three.

Littrell, Mittermaier and Barleben combined to go 7-for-11 in the game with five RBI.

Ashland gave up an unearned run in the top of the first of Game 2, but quickly gained the lead in the bottom half on a two-out, two-run single by sophomore Vince Vanata.

Clyde tied the game in the third with a homer off AU starter Chance Hitchcock, but Ashland regained the lead in the fourth as junior Sam Hawley and Littrell each poked RBI hits to make it 4-2.

A two-run homer by Collin Winters in the fifth tied the game once again at 4.

Hitchcock stranded two SVSU runners in the sixth and got Cole Brooks to fly out with the bases loaded in the seventh to keep it at 4-4. In the eighth, Eding reached on an error, but Hawley erased the threat by throwing him out trying to steal second.

Junior Ryan Curtis followed out of the 'pen in the ninth and Winters immediately tripled off the wall in left-center, just narrowly missing a home run. Curtis then induced a groundout to keep Winters at third. Swiss followed with a walk before Quincy Jones hit a grounder to first baseman Greg Ludwig. Ludwig fired home to keep the runner from scoring, but it left the bases loaded with one out.

Curtis then snared Wilson's chopper to the mound, fired home to get one runner and Hawley threw down to first to complete a 1-2-3 double play, firing up the Ashland dugout.

Freshman Austin Eifrid drew a five-pitch walk to start the ninth and went to second on Littrell's bunt as the SVSU catcher threw the ball into center field as he tried to cut out the lead runner. Mittermaier followed with a walk to load the bases. Eric Fritz's first pitch to Barleben skipped past the catcher and Eifrid sprinted home for the winning run.

Vanata and junior Alex Niecikowski had two hits apiece to lead the AU offense, which out-hit the Cardinals, 20-15, on the day.

Curtis (1-0) earned the win for his scoreless inning. Hitchcock took the no decision, tossing eight innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.

The Eagles and Cardinals will finish their suspended game from Friday at 1 p.m. on Sunday (April 8) at Donges Field. The Cardinals lead that game, 6-2, through three innings. The final game of the series will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion.