Aaron Hilt is in his sixth season as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Ashland University's baseball team.
His pitchers' accolades include Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year, two Brett Tomko Award semifinalists (D2 Baseball News National Pitcher of the Year), and a finalist for the Brett Tomko Award. He has developed 13 All-GLIAC selections, five All-Midwest Region selections and two All-Americans. Hilt has produced two Major League Baseball draft picks, and had one sign an independent professional contract.
Through the past five seasons, Hilt’s pitching staffs and recruiting classes have helped the Eagles average 34.4 wins per season, while winning three GLIAC regular season championships and the 2019 GLIAC Tournament championship. The Eagles reached the NCAA Division II postseason for the fourth time in Hilt's five seasons resulting in a College World Series appearance in 2019. Hilt now has been part of two College World Series teams, also reaching the final stage as a player in 2008.
The 2019 Ashland team won the GLIAC regular season and tournament championships, as well as the Midwest Regional tournament title, advancing to the NCAA College World Series. Eagle pitchers combined for a program-record-tying 48 wins, and set a new program standard for team strikeouts in a season with 537. Senior Chris Slavik was selected as first team ABCA/Rawlings All-American. Slavik finished the season as a statistical champion leading all NCAA Division II in wins with 13. Senior Devin Peters was named to All-Midwest Region team, along with junior Chance Hitchcock. All three were All-GLIAC selections.
The 2018 season saw the Eagles finish with a record of 33-22. That win total represented a 13-win improvement over 2017, one of the best one-season improvements in program history. Junior pitcher Devin Peters posted a conference-best 98 strikeouts while receiving All-GLIAC honors. Three different members of the AU pitching staff won GLIAC Pitcher of the Week.
The 2016 season was a record-setting year for Ashland’s hurlers. They ranked 10th in the country in strikeouts per game (8.9), and broke the single-season school record for strikeouts (444). Right-handed closer Alex Smith stands alone in the record books, setting the Ashland University all-time saves record in 2016. Brandyn Sittinger racked up postseason honors, including three All-American awards, three Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year laurels and three first-team All-Midwest Region spots. In addition, he was a finalist for the 2016 Brett Tomko Award, was the 2016 GLIAC Pitcher of the Year, earned spots on the All-Midwest Region and All-GLIAC Tournament teams, and was named first-team All-GLIAC, GLIAC South Division Pitcher of the Week three times and CoSIDA Academic All-District.
Sittinger was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 17th round (No. 505 overall) in the 2016 MLB draft.
In Hilt’s first season with the Eagles, he helped head coach John Schaly receive GLIAC Coach of the Year honor, while posting a 38-win season. The Eagles' pitching staff had a conference-best 397 strikeouts and posted an earned-run average of 3.98. Pitcher Jake Baldwin was named a semifinalist for the 2015 Brett Tomko Award. Members of the 2015 Eagle pitching staff led the GLIAC in three individual categories - strikeouts, wins and saves. The Eagles finished as the NCAA Midwest Regional Runner-up.
Concluding the 2015 season, right-handed pitcher Art Warren was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round (No. 695 overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Hilt returned to his alma mater after spending 2013 and 2014 seasons as an assistant coach at Wheeling Jesuit University. During his coaching career at Wheeling Jesuit, he worked with the pitching staff and served as the recruiting coordinator. At Wheeling Jesuit, Hilt assumed the daily responsibilities as head coach for 30 days during a leave of absence where he finished the recruitment of 20 student-athletes and handled all day-to-day operations. Hilt’s first recruiting class helped the Cardinals set a school record for conference wins.
In 2014, Wheeling Jesuit right-handed pitcher Jordan Kraus was selected by the Lake Erie Crushers in the first round (11th overall) in the Frontier League Draft.
During Hilt’s playing career at Ashland, he won a GLIAC Championship, one Midwest Region Championship, made three straight NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament appearances, and an NCAA Division II World Series appearance. In 2009, Ashland was ranked third in the nation, and received the program's highest national ranking. Hilt received All-GLIAC conference honors, All-Midwest Region honors, and is the only pitcher to throw a complete-game no-hitter since the 1994 season.
After playing at Ashland, Hilt continued his athletic career by signing a professional contract with the Normal Cornbelters in the independent Frontier League. He was selected as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the annual Frontier League draft.
Hilt received his undergraduate degree in Sport Management from Ashland University, and received his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Wheeling Jesuit.