Hursey Uses Long Ball To Help AU Sweep 'Dogs

Throughout her career, senior Logan Hursey (Zanesville, Ohio/John Glenn) has been a pitcher, first baseman and designated player.  On some all-star teams she has been referred to as a utility player. Others would call her multi-talented, versatile or the owner of a rare skill set.

            When this season is over, here's what Hursey will most likely be called – the best two-way player in Ashland University history.

            No pitcher-position player has accomplished what Hursey has. Sunday (Mar. 27) at Brookside Park, she moved into second place in career homers, clearing the fence twice as Ashland swept Ferris State, 10-0 (five innings) and 7-1.  AU is 13-9, 5-1 in GLIAC action. FSU is 6-12 and 3-3.

            Hursey had a homer in each game.  In the second game, she was 3-for-3 with a single, double, homer and three RBI. The home run cleared the temporary, collapsible fence and hit the permanent green fence on the fly. That was the 22nd home run of her career.  Shots like that were the norm for AU's career home run leader Sunny Litteral, who hit 44 in her career.

            Hursey has also won 40 career games in the circle. There have been days when she's gone the distance as a pitcher and then driven in clutch runs late in the game to seal a victory. That didn't happen against FSU.  Hursey started the second game but got no decision, pitching three innings.  Neither of Sunday's games went down to the wire and required a critical hit in the seventh inning.

            That doesn't take any of the shine off what Hursey means to this team.  In this week where AU went 5-3, 5-1 in league play, Hursey hit .300 with two homers and a team-high 10 RBI. 

            Hursey's homer in the first game was a solo shot and came in the bottom of the second inning. That gave Ashland a 1-0 lead.  AU scored one more run in that inning and added two runs in the third on a two-run double to center field by third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio).  Kelley was 2-for-3 with three RBI in the game and for the week, hit .593 with three doubles, nine RBI and a .704 slugging percentage. She has a team-best 18 RBI.

            AU added three more runs in the fourth. Two came home on a Lyndsey Brandt (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) triple to left field.  Brandt scored moments later on Kelley's second double of the game.

            The game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning when outfielder Alex Machen (Lebanon, Ohio) hit a three-run homer, her first of the season. The loss went to starter Dana Bowler (4-4), who pitched the first 3.2 innings and was responsible for seven runs – six earned – on seven hits.

            Junior Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) improved to 10-3 with the win in the first game.  The Bulldogs got to Knerem for six hits, but the Ashland pitcher walked only one and struck out eight. Stephanie Dusendang and Lainee Clay had two hits each for FSU.

            Ashland was clinging to a 3-2 lead after three innings in the second game.  The Eagles broke the game open in the top of the fourth by scoring three runs for a 6-1 lead.  Freshman Carly Clark (Strasburg, Ohio), who earned her first college win on Saturday against Grand Valley State, got her second triumph in less than 24 hours when she quieted the Bulldogs over the final four innings.  Clark didn't allow a run while allowing three hits.

            First baseman Frankie Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) was 2-for-3 and drove in the first run in the decisive fourth inning.  Brandt was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Kelley was 2-for-3.  Ashland had 12 hits and finished the two games with 21 hits. In their last eight games, the Eagles have hit .342 and averaged 6.4 runs per game.

            Ferris State catcher Rachel Mueller was 3-for-3 in the second game.  Third baseman Makenzi Peterson and Dusendang had two hits each. The loss went to Amy Dunleavy (2-7), who allowed six runs in 3.1 innings.

            The Eagles will step out of conference play on Wednesday (Mar. 30, 3:30 p.m.) when they host Notre Dame College.