Eagles Win GLIAC Regular Season Crown With Sweep

Eagles Win GLIAC Regular Season Crown With Sweep

The Ashland University baseball seniors were not able to walk across the stage with their classmates as part of commencement ceremonies on Saturday (May 4) morning.

They had other things to attend to.

The Eagles took both ends of a doubleheader at Purdue Northwest to put the bow on the fifth regular season GLIAC title in program history. Ashland won the opener, 11-1, and edged out the Pride in Game 2, 4-3.

Ashland (37-9, 17-6 GLIAC), which came into the week as the No. 1 team in the Midwest Region rankings, clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's GLIAC Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. 

On Saturday, the Eagles took a 2-0 lead in Game 1 in the third inning on a bases-loaded walk by sophomore Logan Stoldt and a sac fly by junior Garett Robberts.

Junior right-hander Chance Hitchcock kept the Pride (20-25, 15-12 GLIAC) hitless in the first two innings before the hosts got on the board with a run in the bottom of the third.

Sophomore Micah Allen supplied a sac fly in the fifth to make it 3-1. Senior Matt Littrell had Ashland's third sac fly of the game in the sixth inning to push the lead to 4-1. 

The Eagles broke it open with seven runs in the seventh, keyed by two-run doubles by junior Michael Rogers and Allen.

Hitchcock (7-1) was outstanding for the Eagles, giving up just one run on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a complete game effort. He needed just 87 pitches to get through seven innings.

Allen led the AU offense by going 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Sophomore Austin Eifrid and junior Carson Mittermaier had two hits each as the Eagles out-hit the Pride, 12-6.

In Game 2, the Pride took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Eagles took their first lead in the fourth inning with a pair of runs. Sophomore Dillan Smith poked an RBI single through the middle and Rogers, who reached on a single, scored on a wild pitch.

The Pride regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth with two runs off AU starter Josh Stover. Junior left-hander Josh Smith took over and got the final three outs of the inning.

Allen's RBI triple in the fifth inning tied the game at 3.

In the sixth, senior Sam Hawley drew a two-out walk, followed by a free pass issued to Eifrid. Littrell then drove a pitch through the middle to give Ashland a 4-3 lead.

Smith retired the side in the sixth before turning it over to sophomore right-hander Perry Bewley for the seventh. Bewley walked the leadoff man, but struck out the next three batters to record his first save of the season.

Smith (1-0) earned the win in relief, tossing three innings of one-hit ball. He walked two and struck out three.

Littrell and Rogers each had two hits in the game as the Pride out-hit the Eagles, 7-6.

The Eagles and Pride will conclude the regular season on Sunday (May 5) at noon CT in Hammond, Ind. as Ashland goes for the sweep.