Ashland University's softball team, which entered the week as the hottest squad in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, saw its momentum halted by in-state rival Findlay on Tuesday (April 19).
The Eagles, who came into Tuesday's road doubleheader having gone 7-0-1 in their previous eight games, suffered 7-6 and 3-0 losses to the Oilers. AU stands at 22-18-1 overall and 12-7-1 in the GLIAC – good for sixth place in the league standings.
The top eight teams in the GLIAC advance to the conference tournament, April 29-May 1 in Findlay.
Findlay is 29-15, 15-7.
Ashland started the twinbill on the right note, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning in Game 1. Senior catcher Bri Buckley and sophomore third baseman Marissa Caraballo each drove in two runs in the frame - Buckley on a single and Caraballo on a triple.
Findlay, however, responded with crooked numbers in the second (three), third (two) and fourth (two) innings to take a 7-4 lead. The Eagles came back with a run in the fifth on an RBI single by senior pitcher Sarah Alley, and a run in the sixth when Caraballo scored on a passed ball, but couldn't bring the tying run plateward.
Caraballo was 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two RBIs. Alley took the loss following seven hits, five runs (three earned) and two strikeouts in three innings.
In Game 2, Ashland ran into Findlay sophomore left-hander Chelsea McManaway, who authored a one-hit shutout with two walks and 11 strikeouts. Senior left fielder Shelbie Prince broke up McManaway's no-hitter with a single with two outs in the sixth inning.
Senior Brittany Flanigan allowed nine hits, three runs (two earned) and three walks and struck out four in the complete-game loss.
The Eagles are 3-2-1 in the first six of 12 consecutive road games to end the 2016 regular season. AU will play six straight games in Michigan to conclude the regular year, beginning on Friday (April 22) at 3:30 p.m. against Saginaw Valley State (26-12, 10-8).