Strong Arms, Sortwell's Bat Have Eagles Back To Full Health

Alex Sortwell (14), right, is greeted at home plate after homering against Findlay.
Alex Sortwell (14), right, is greeted at home plate after homering against Findlay.

            Allergy season has arrived in Ohio. That means the phrase, "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning," has become a familiar refrain.

            AU baseball coach John Schaly has a slight variation of that. His line is "Take two arms and see what the morning brings."

            Schaly had a headache last week when his Eagles went 1-3 and he watched his pitchers get shelled for 10 or more runs three times.

            It was an entirely different scenario on Wednesday (May 1) at Donges Field. The Eagles swept Findlay, 2-1 and 8-1. In the first game, sophomore righty Jake Baldwin (Madison Heights, Mich./Lamphere) raised his record to 6-0 with a complete-game three-hitter.

            The second game saw Eric Vaughan (Delta, Ohio/Owens C.C.) and Zach Botjer (Deshler, Ohio/Sinclair C.C.) combine to hold the Oilers to an unearned run on four hits.

            The sweep puts AU at 30-15, 18-11 in the GLIAC. Ashland is ranked first in the region and is in third place in the GLIAC. Findlay is 19-23 and 12-17.

            For the last month, Baldwin has dominated every team he's faced. He's this week's GLIAC pitcher of the week. Baldwin is the GLIAC leader in ERA and he's fourth in strikeouts. He whiffed seven Oilers and gave out one walk.

            Findlay's Joe Sickler homered to left field off of Baldwin in the third inning and that's newsworthy because it's the first run Baldwin has allowed as a starter since Mar. 29 at Walsh. The Oilers had a great opportunity to do more damage in the sixth inning. They had runners on second and third with no outs. Baldwin escaped the jam by striking out Victor Migliore, inducing Reid Rothenbuhler to pop out to shortstop and retiring Tommy Roush on a ground ball to second base.

            Baldwin set down the Oilers in order in the seventh. Over the last three innings Baldwin had three strikeouts and three ground ball outs.

            AU scored both of its runs in the first inning and both runs were unearned. UF starter and loser Drew Hargrove (2-3) did an excellent job of mixing his pitches. He lasted 5.2 innings and allowed two unearned runs on five hits. Findlay was guilty of two errors in the first inning.

            Vaughan (6-2) lasted 4.2 innings in the nightcap. He allowed a run on four hits. Botjer came on in the fifth inning with runners on first and second and two outs and quickly restored order by striking out Migliore. Botjer didn't allow a hit in 2.1 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

            AU center fielder Alex Sortwell (San Mateo, Calif./Canada College) had a productive second game, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI. Sortwell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third, singled home a run in the sixth and in the fifth, drove a home run over the left field fence and onto the roof of the Sarver Athletic Complex locker room. The round-tripper was his team-high seventh of the season. Sortwell also leads the club in RBI (35).

            Designated hitter Mackenzie Hampshire (Delphos, Ohio/Elida) and right fielder Shane Wagner (Volant, Pa./Mercyhurst N.E. CC) both went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Left fielder Austin Erb (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover) was 2-for-3 and first baseman Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) was 2-for-4. AU had 14 hits off of three Findlay pitchers.

            Ethan James (4-5) started and took the loss. He worked 3.1 innings. The Eagles were in front, 4-1 after five innings. They broke open the game with four runs in the sixth.

            AU will host Ohio Dominican in a three-game series this weekend. That series opens on Saturday (May, 4, 4 p.m.) with a nine-inning single game.