A nine-inning complete-game one-hit shutout by sophomore right-handed pitcher Chris Slavik lifted Ashland University's baseball team to a doubleheader split on Sunday (April 2) at home against Walsh, and a 2-2 weekend series against the Cavaliers at Donges Field.
The Eagles are 12-16 overall and 5-7 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while Walsh is tied for first in the GLIAC at 17-7, 9-3.
"We played well today," said Ashland head coach John Schaly. "Played great defense (one error in two games), got good pitching and swung the bats better. We played better this weekend.
"We've been working here of late to improve our defense. We've made some changes in the infield. We have to play good defense to be successful."
Slavik improved to 2-1 after authoring the one-hitter. He struck out seven and walked five, and saw his 2017 earned-run average dive to 3.48. Slavik's key stretch was the top of the fifth, when he worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam after a walk, a single and his error on a sacrifice bunt.
"He threw a great game," Schaly said. "When he's throwing strikes, he's tough. He's got good stuff. That was his big inning, turning point. That was a key part of the game."
Slavik said, "It felt great. The guys putting up a couple runs early on helped me, allowed me to pound the zone. And the guys were making plays behind me today. I owe a lot of the credit to them.
"I definitely worked myself into that jam. I really owed it to them. Just filled up the zone, and they made plays behind me."
Ashland got Slavik the only runs he would need with a four-spot in the bottom of the third. Junior third baseman J.P. Sorma cleared the bases with a three-run double to break the scoreless tie.
Sorma was 2-for-5 with a double, four RBIs and two runs scored, and sophomore right fielder Ivan Wortman was 2-for-3.
In Sunday's opener, Ashland lost 5-4, after Walsh scored four times in the top of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. Freshman left fielder Vince Vanata was 3-for-4 and scored a run, and sophomore righty Sam Rice threw Ashland's first complete game of the day – seven innings, six hits, five runs, one walk and six strikeouts.
The Eagles are 4-2 in the last six games, averaging 8.8 runs per game in that stretch.
"A lot of the young guys are getting that college experience and are starting to come around," Schaly said. "The big encouraging thing this weekend was the defense. We played better in all phases of the game this weekend."
"I consider this a turning point," said Slavik. "For us to take two out of four from them is definitely a turning point for us."
UP NEXT: A home non-conference game on Thursday (April 6) at 3 p.m. vs. West Liberty (15-6).