Friday night, the Ashland University football team holds its annual spring game. If the guys on the gridiron put up points like the women of the diamond scored runs on Wednesday (Apr. 18), the offensive staff will be overjoyed.
At Brookside Park on Wednesday, the Eagles pounded Lake Erie, 11-0 and 17-0. Neither game went past five innings. AU is 36-12, 20-8 in the GLIAC. Ashland has a four-game winning streak.
The 17 runs the Eagles scored in the first game is their highest total since scoring 17 times against Saint Joseph's on Mar. 12, 1998. The 28 runs in a doubleheader are the most since AU scored 29 times against Clarion on Apr. 8, 1999.
From the opening pitch, the Eagles controlled the action. Senior Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) won both games and is 25-2 with a 1.27 ERA. In the first game, Knerem limited the Storm (5-38/2-24) to one hit, a fifth-inning single by Haley Rathge. Knerem did not walk a batter and struck out five.
In the second game, Knerem went the first three innings. She didn't allow a run while doling out three hits. The senior is one win shy of equaling her season high in wins (26 in 2011).
AU had 12 hits in the first game and 15 in the second. In the first game, Ashland scored four times in the first inning and five times in the third. Catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale) was 1-for-2 with three RBI in the first game and 2-for-3 in the nightcap. She has an 11-game hitting streak. Garver homered for the seventh time this season in the opener.
Second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington) was 4-for-7 on the day with a double and three RBI. First baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) launched her fifth homer of the year and had three RBI for the day. Designated player Jerrica Young (Loudonville, Ohio) was 2-for-3 in the first game with an RBI and 2-for-4 in the second game with three RBI. AU had five extra-base hits in the second game.
Between games, Ashland honored the three seniors on this year's team - Knerem, third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio) and shortstop Bri Woody (Cleveland, Ohio/Magnificat). All three are four-year starters. They have fueled a run that's seen the Eagles reach the NCAA playoffs for three consecutive seasons. AU has won at least 30 games for four straight years and has recorded at least 20 GLIAC wins for four consecutive seasons. This year's team is also in position to return to the NCAA postseason.
Kelley went into Wednesday leading the GLIAC in batting average. She's hitting .438. AU has four players hitting .343 or higher and six players with 23 or more RBI.
AU has one regular season home date remaining. That's a twinbill with Tiffin on Friday (Apr. 20, 2 p.m.) at Brookside West.