The Ashland University baseball team finished off four-game sweep of Parkside by winning two games in their last at-bat on Sunday (March 24) afternoon at Donges Field. The Eagles scored four in the bottom of the sixth in Game 1 to win, 7-3, and won in walk-off fashion in the 10th inning of Game 2, 9-8.
Ashland (18-3, 4-0 GLIAC) has won nine straight, matching a nine-game winning streak the Eagles put together a season ago.
The winning streak looked in peril in Game 1 with the game tied at 3 in the top of the sixth. The Rangers (4-12, 0-4 GLIAC) had the bases loaded with no outs when head coach John Schaly turned to senior closer Chris Slavik. The right-hander induced a pop-out to shallow left to keep the runners at bay, then got Justin Bennett to hit a fly to junior center fielder Michael Rogers.
Rogers settled under it and threw a rope to catcher Logan Stoldt, who applied the tag on pinch-runner Kurt Mlachnik to keep the score tied at 3.
"They brought in the pinch runner, so I knew anything in the outfield in the air, he was going," said Rogers. "Anything in front of me I'm going to come up, let it go and hopefully it's at the plate and we get him."
The Eagles immediately loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half as sophomore Logan Moss gave AU a 5-3 lead with a two-run double. Rogers followed with a run-scoring groundout and a squeeze bunt by sophomore Austin Eifrid brought in Ashland's fourth run of the inning.
"As a team, we have so much positive energy and we're always together and sticking up for each other," said Rogers. "For Slavik to come in with the bases loaded and nobody out and get out of it, that just gets everyone super pumped up."
Slavik retired the side in order, striking out two, in the seventh to preserve the 7-3 win.
The Rangers led 2-0 after the first inning, but a two-out, two-run single by senior Matt Littrell tied the game in the third. Rogers' RBI single in the fourth gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead before Parkside tied it at 3 in the fifth.
Junior right-hander Chance Hitchcock got the start and allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked just one. Slavik earned the win with two hitless innings of relief.
Moss and Rogers had two hits each for the Eagles in Game 1.
After Parkside tied Game 2 with a two-run homer in the ninth, the game went to the 10th. Slavik, pitching for the second time on the day, retired the side in order in the top of the inning.
In the bottom half, Rogers led off with a single and went to second on a sac bunt. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Hawley lifted a line drive to left field deep enough for Rogers to slide home with the winning run.
"I was just happy we finished, because last year we struggled on Sundays (in the fourth game of series) when we were up 3-0," said Rogers. "To blow a lead late, then come back and win it, it's an awesome feeling and get the sweep."
Parkside had a 5-2 lead after three innings before the Eagles tied the game with three runs in the sixth – two on Eifrid's RBI single and another when Rogers scored on a wild pitch.
Junior Carson Mittermaier led off the seventh with a homer to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead, but the Rangers tied it in the eighth. Rogers' two-run homer in the eighth gave Ashland an 8-6 lead.
The AU offense was able to get back in the game because of a strong relief outing by senior right-hander Josh Stover, who went five innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits. He struck out four and walked none.
Slavik (5-0) earned his second win of the day and third of the week with 2 2/3 innings of relief, striking out six.
Ashland pitchers walked just two batters over 17 innings on Sunday.
Eifrid and Mittermaier had three hits each in Game 2 and Eifrid drove in three runs. Junior Jason Swope was 2-for-4 with a walk.
The Eagles continue their 13-game homestand on Tuesday (March 26) at 3 p.m. when they take on Wheeling Jesuit.