Ashland University's softball team earned one win on the field on Friday (April 22), and moved closer to another victory in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings.
The Eagles split their doubleheader on Friday at Saginaw Valley State, winning 4-1 and losing 7-6, and took another step toward clinching a spot in the GLIAC Tournament (April 29-May 1 in Findlay, Ohio) in the process. AU is 23-19-1 overall and 13-8-1 in the conference, and the Cardinals are 28-14, 12-10.
In Friday's opener, the Eagles trailed 1-0 going into the fourth inning, then an RBI double by sophomore third baseman Marissa Caraballo and a two-run homer off the bat of junior shortstop Alexis Van Horn gave AU a 3-1 advantage.
Ashland added insurance in the top of the sixth when junior second baseman Kalene Freshour grounded out to score a run.
Senior pitcher Sarah Alley improved to 13-7 after allowing three hits, one unearned run and three walks and striking out four in 4 2/3 innings. Freshman Hannah Stroe earned her first collegiate save with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief.
In the nightcap, SVSU ran out to a 5-1 lead through 4½ innings before Ashland began its comeback.
Senior left fielder Shelbie Prince's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth made it a 5-2 contest, then two runs in the sixth – one on a Cardinal error and one on another Prince run-scoring single – cut the AU deficit to 5-4.
Saginaw Valley then scored twice in the seventh, and the Cardinals needed both runs. Ashland scored two in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back RBI singles by Freshour and Caraballo, and had two runners on with nobody out, but couldn't complete the rally.
Prince, Freshour and Caraballo each had two of AU's 11 hits, and Prince drove in two runs. Senior Brittany Flanigan took the loss after yielding eight hits and five runs and striking out two in four innings.
The Eagles conclude the 2016 regular season by finishing their 12-game road trip with doubleheaders at Wayne State (39-6, 18-2) on Saturday (April 23) at 1 p.m. and at Northwood (16-22, 7-15) on Sunday (April 24) at noon.