Junior Michael Rogers hit a grand slam under the near cover of darkness to give the Eagles an 11-7 win in the second half of a doubleheader sweep of Davenport on Tuesday (April 2).
The Eagles (22-3, 7-0 GLIAC), ranked No. 15 in the NCBWA poll, won the first game by a 6-5 margin, scoring in the bottom of the sixth on a single by senior Matt Littrell. Ashland has now won four of its last six games in its last at bat.
With the three-game series sweep of the Panthers (13-10, 1-6 GLIAC), the Eagles have matched a program record 13-game winning streak, which was set in 2007.
Rogers' grand slam came in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game that ended just 10 minutes shy of 8 p.m. It snapped a 7-7 tie – third tie of the game between the teams.
The game was tied 3-3 after three innings, 5-5 after four innings and 7-7 after the sixth. It was Littrell's two-run blast in the sixth that tied the game for the third time.
Junior left-hander Josh Smith, who got the final two outs of the sixth, came on for the seventh and struck out the first batter before walking the next three. He escaped the damage by inducing a foul out and a fly out.
That turned it over to senior righty Chris Slavik, who pitched around a two-out walk by getting a groundout to end the inning.
Junior Sam Hawley reached second to start the eighth when Travis Harvey dropped a fly ball in left-center. The Panthers intentionally passed Littrell to get to sophomore Logan Stoldt, who singled to load the bases. Junior Jason Swope chopped the next pitch to third base and the Panthers got the force at the plate.
With two down, Rogers then crushed a Michael Lincoln offering over the wall in right center to give the Eagles an 11-7 lead.
The game was called due to darkness after the next hitter struck out.
Slavik (7-0) earned his second win of the day – the second time this season he has won two games in a single day. He is the GLIAC leader in wins.
Sophomore Dillan Smith was 3-for-5 and Littrell and Stoldt had two hits each in Game 2. Sophomore right-hander Josh Stover got the start and threw 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) with three strikeouts. Senior righty Sam Rice gave the Eagles two innings of relief.
In Game 1, the Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Smith's RBI groundout and a throwing error on a stolen base attempt by Rogers.
Freshman Michael Haley's two-run flare to right field gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead in the fourth before sophomore Austin Eifrid forced in a run by getting hit with a pitch added another run later in the inning. Eifrid was hit three times on Tuesday, giving him 18 on the season, tied for the second-most in program history.
Davenport finally got to AU starter Chance Hitchcock in the fifth, tying the game with five runs in the inning.
Sophomore right-hander Perry Bewley got the final two outs of the inning, then got the first out of the sixth before turning it over to Slavik, who stranded a runner at second.
Hawley reached in the bottom of the sixth on a one-out single. Littrell then knocked a hit to left and Hawley hustled into third where the throw went all the way through and allowed him to get up and score the go-ahead run.
Slavik retired the side in order, striking out the last two batters, in the seventh finish off the win.
Hitchcock tossed 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Bewley was credited with an inning of scoreless relief.
The Eagles managed just six hits in the game, but drew seven walks against the Davenport staff. Jacob Buchberger (0-1) took the loss.
The Eagles will finish their 12-game homestand on Wednesday (April 3) at 3 p.m. when they take on Lake Erie in nonconference action.