One out away from a home doubleheader sweep, Ashland University's softball team had to settle for split on Wednesday (April 10) at Brookside Park, winning 9-8 and losing 8-7 to Saginaw Valley State.
Wednesday's opener ended in Ashland's (24-14 overall, 10-8 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) favor thanks to a three-run bottom of the seventh inning. Junior designated player Dayna Denner tied the game at 8 on a two-run single, then, with two outs, sophomore right fielder Emma Lawson's single to right field was played into an error, which allowed sophomore pinch-runner Jaylin Narvaez to score the winning run from first base.
"It was quite an ugly game, to be honest, for us," said Ashland head coach Emlyn Knerem, whose team survived five errors and five unearned runs allowed for the victory. "I'm glad we managed to pull that one out.
"She's (Lawson) had a really great stretch of a couple of weeks. She's been putting the ball in play well, seeing the ball well. So, really great moment for her."
The Eagles have won one more game in 2019 than they did in all of 2018 (23-25).
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- Saginaw Valley State (15-15, 7-9) took the early Game 1 lead on an unearned run in the top of the first, then scored two more unearned runs in the top of the third for a 3-0 advantage.
- In the bottom of the third, the Eagles countered with five unearned runs of their own, as senior center fielder Erika Farst came across home plate on an error, Lawson drew a bases-loaded walk, and sophomore left fielder Alli Hylton cleared the bases with a double.
- Senior first baseman Kylie Asmus added Ashland's sixth run in the bottom of the fourth on a sharp RBI single, then SVSU got that run back in the top of the fifth on a solo home run from Blasia Moyler, cut the deficit to 6-5 thanks to an RBI single by Julia Salisbury, and tied the game at 6 on a run-scoring hit from Becky Corbett.
- The Cardinals added two more runs in the top of the sixth thanks to a double from Shelby Misiak, taking the lead back at 8-6. That, however, set up the Eagles' bottom-of-the-seventh heroics.
- Game 2 started the same way, with the Cardinals plating a run in the top of the first. SVSU made it 3-0 in the top of the third, but left the bases loaded. The comeback theme of the day continued with the Eagles bringing two runs across on RBI singles from junior second baseman Camille Pollutro and Denner.
- After the Cardinals countered with three runs in the top of the fourth to put their lead at 6-2, Ashland punched back with in the bottom of the frame with RBI singles from junior shortstop Bree Gill and Asmus.
- Trailing 6-4 going to the fifth inning, the Eagles cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the frame on a Cardinal error with two outs. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Ashland took the lead for the first time in the nightcap on RBIs from Hylton on an SVSU error, and a Lawson bases-loaded free pass.
- With two outs in the top of the seventh, the Cardinals were down to their last out before two singles, an Eagle error which tied the game at 7, and an RBI single by Sarah Gersch which provided the final margin of victory.
- In the opener, Hylton was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, and Denner was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Sophomore pitcher Laney Jones (11-6) was the mound winner, allowing 14 hits, eight runs (three earned) and a walk, and striking out four in seven innings.
- Lawson was 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI in Game 2. Denner, who came into the day leading the GLIAC in batting average (.425) and on-base percentage (.538), was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, while Pollutro and Gill each added two of AU's 11 hits. Senior pitcher Hannah Stroe (11-8) allowed 13 hits, eight runs (four earned) and two walks and whiffed four in the complete-game defeat.
- Ashland has played in 15 one-run games this season, going 9-6.
The start of a 10-game road trip on Saturday (April 13) at 2 p.m. at Wayne State (23-12, 6-8).