Eagles Pound UMSL In Opener

Eagles Pound UMSL In Opener

The rap on the 2012 Ashland University baseball team was that it was offensively challenged.

How did the Eagles answer that charge in the 2013 season opener? Rap, rap, rap.

That was the sound of baseball hitting bat and that happened with regularity on Sunday (Mar. 2) at Southern Indiana where the Eagles opened the season with an 11-2 victory against Missouri-St. Louis.

This was also the season opener for UMSL.

The Eagles had 14 hits. Six of those went for extra bases.  The Eagles belted a homer and five doubles. They led, 3-0 after one inning, 6-0 after three frames and thanks to a five-run seventh inning, 11-0 after seven stanzas.

"It was a great start for us," said AU head coach John Schaly. "Our pitchers threw nine innings with zero walks. We didn't have an error. We played well in all phases of the game against a good opponent. We beat a good pitcher and a good team."

UMSL starter Andy Flett is a transfer from Louisville. The Eagles touched him up for six runs on nine hits in five innings.

Junior outfielder Alex Sortwell (San Mateo, Calif/Canada College), in his first game in an AU uniform, went 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored. Sortwell had a homer and a pair of doubles.

Another newcomer, freshman outfielder Nick Edwards (Mason, Ohio/Archbishop Moeller), was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Sophomore shortstop Austin Walts (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a pair of stolen bases. Senior catcher John Broll (Mississagua, Ont./Genesee C.C.) was 2-for-4 and knocked in two runs.

Senior righty Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio) started and went seven strong innings. Thomas allowed four hits. He didn't walk anyone and fanned two.

Sophomore Vince Frate (North Royalton, Ohio) pitched a scoreless eighth inning. UMSL scored twice in the ninth off of junior Shane Wagner (Volant, Pa./Mercyhurst Northeast).

Sunday's victory takes on extra significance became it came against a Great Lakes Valley Conference foe and it is a win over a regional opponent.

The Eagles figure to get a stern test on Monday (Mar. 3) when they play two games against Southern Indiana. The Screaming Eagles have been one of the top teams in the region - and the country - the past several seasons.