The Ashland University baseball team won in walk-off fashion in Game 1, 4-3, and then pitched its first shutout of the season with an 11-0 win in Game 2 to sweep Purdue Northwest in a doubleheader on Saturday (April 21) afternoon at Donges Field.
The Eagles (26-11, 13-6 GLIAC) have now won 17 of their last 20 games and can go for a four-game series sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. With two Northwood losses on Saturday, the Eagles moved to within a game of first place in the GLIAC standings.
Sophomore right-hander Chance Hitchcock turned in a strong outing in Game 1. He gave up an unearned run in the first inning and then cruised through the next five innings.
The lineup backed him up with three runs in the third inning as senior Greg Ludwig ripped a two-run single to give Ashland the lead. Sophomore Carson Mittermaier scored the third run on an executed double-steal with runners on the corners.
The Eagles took their 3-1 lead into the seventh Purdue Northwest (14-18, 6-12 GLIAC) scored two on a single by Alex Batistatos to tie the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles loaded the bases with one out and senior Connor Barleben ripped a 1-2 pitch into right field to send the Eagles to their second straight walk-off win against the Pride.
Hitchcock (5-2) earned the win, giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits in a complete game. He walked three and struck out five. PNW reliever Joe Davi (0-3) took the loss, giving up a run without recording an out.
Junior right-hander Devin Peters faced off against his former teammate at Kankakee Community College, left-hander Kyle Flessner, in Game 2.
Peters was electric in six innings and had just one three-ball count on the day. He needed only 73 pitches, striking out seven with no walks, while scattering four hits.
Sophomore Kevin Browne had an RBI single in the second to open the scoring and Hawley's squeeze bunt brought in another.
Ashland broke the game open with six runs in the third inning as Barleben and Hawley each had two-run doubles in the inning and Vanata added an RBI single.
Freshman Micah Allen lifted a two-run homer to left-center in the fifth inning to make it 10-0 and Browne's RBI groundout capped the scoring.
Peters (6-4) earned the win while senior Cory Teachout tossed a scoreless seventh inning to preserve the shutout. It was Ashland's first shutout win since a 6-0 win over Walsh on April 2, 2017.
Barleben was 3-for-3 with a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Freshman Austin Eifrid and Vanata added two hits for the Eagles, who led in hits, 12-5.