A mid-life crisis can send a person into a tailspin that can take weeks to overcome. A mid-week crisis with a pitching staff can do the same to a baseball team.
The AU baseball team was rained out of three games against Grand Valley State last weekend. On Wednesday at Donges Field, AU and Lake Erie finished a three-game mid-week series. The Eagles lost a suspended game to LEC, 5-4 and then took the regularly scheduled nine-inning game, 7-3. That gave the Eagles wins in two of the three games in this series.
The Eagles didn't have to dig deep into the bullpen, which is good news because this staff has been decimated by injuries. This Saturday and Sunday the Eagles go to Hillsdale for three games. At this point, AU should have its pitching all lined up the way it prefers.
AU is 13-10 and 3-5 in the GLIAC. The Storm is 12-12 and 6-5.
The suspended game began on Tuesday and was halted due to darkness in the top of the seventh inning. The game was tied, 4-4 after six innings. In the top of the seventh, LEC got a two-out single from Sean Mathews. He moved to second on a wild pitch and came home on a double down the left field line by Lucas Raley. All of that damage came against starter and loser, Alex Smith (3-3).
The victory went to relief pitcher Brandon Grunda (1-1), who worked 2.2 scoreless innings.
In Wednesday's regularly scheduled game, AU scored six runs in the fourth inning to wipe out a 1-0 Lake Erie lead. That outburst contained one hit - a Hampshire single - but saw five AU batters get nicked by pitches. Throw in a pair of LEC errors and it all added up to a big inning for the Eagles.
Ashland added an insurance run in the sixth inning on a single to center field by right fielder Nick Edwards. Edwards had two RBI in the game.
AU starter Mitch Cox went six innings and allowed two runs - one earned - on five hits. He handed out three free passes and struck out three. Dan Whitacre pitched the last three innings and was touched for a run on three hits.
One of the biggest plays in the game came in the top of the fifth inning. Lake Erie's Derek Turocy started the inning with a single and with one out, moved around to third base on a Alex Lind double. That put LEC runners at second and third with one out. If the Storm could have responded there and made life more uncomfortable for AU, a rally could have been in the works. Catcher Adam Vasil prevented that, picking Turocy off of third base with a perfect throw to third baseman Mike Lewandowski. Cox got the next hitter, Josh Hudeck, to pop out to shortstop.
The Eagles were out-hit, 8-4. Lind and Vasil had the only extra-base hits in the game. Each player had a double.
The loss went to LEC starter Austin Previt (1-1). In 3.2 innings, he gave up six runs - three earned - on one hit. He walked two and hit six.