ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Ashland University's baseball team lost a tough opener at the 2015 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional on Thursday (May 14), seeing an early 5-0 lead turn into a 6-5 loss to Quincy at the Lou Brock Sports Complex.
AU (36-18) will play an elimination game on Friday (May 15) at noon against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Grand Valley State.
The Eagles put together their only scoring inning in the top of the second. Freshman catcher Ryan Lowe reached on an error by the second baseman with one out. Then sophomore designated hitter Steve Mowry singled up the middle to put runners on at first and second. Senior shortstop Austin Walts followed that up with a single to the shortstop.
With the bases loaded, senior left fielder Kyle Brooks laced a single to center to bring home Lowe and Mowry for his 36th and 37th RBIs on the season. Walts and Brooks ended up on second and third on the throw home. Junior center fielder Nick Edwards then did his part, hitting an RBI single to center to bring home Walts.
Turning the lineup back over, senior second baseman Stephen James hit a sacrifice fly that plated the fourth run for the Eagles, and they weren't done. Edwards stole second and came home as the fifth and final run of the inning after junior right fielder Mike Lewandowski singled up the middle.
AU threatened again in the fifth inning, beginning with a one-out walk by junior first baseman Mackenzie Hampshire. Junior third baseman Blake Bellman then hit a scorcher down the right-field line for a double. With runners at second and third, Lowe hit a fielder's choice to the shortstop, where Quincy threw Hampshire out at the plate for the second out, effectively ending the threat.
Quincy dented the scoreboard in the sixth after first baseman David Jacob notched his seventh home run of the year to right field. The solo shot drew the Hawks to a 5-1 deficit. Two more Hawk batters reached base before center fielder Justin Blechle smashed a triple to right field and brought home two runs. The Hawks trailed 5-3 after six innings.
The Eagles got into trouble in the eighth when Quincy right fielder Ryan Snyder ripped a double to right to begin the inning. Left fielder Dominic Miles then beat out an infield single to put two on for the Hawks. Designated hitter J.P. Meyer attempted a sacrifice bunt, but a high throw from Eagles pitcher Brandyn Sittinger had all-hands safe and allowed Snyder to score. The Eagles did manage to ground third baseman Peter Cunningham into a 4-6-3 double-play, but Miles came home on the play and knotted the game at 5.
The game was headed to extras after the Eagles and Hawks were still tied after 9 innings.
Quincy had its lead off hitter, Jacob, reach to begin the 10th. Snyder then roped a shot just past the outstretched arm of Walts, and the Hawks quickly had runners on first and third with no outs. Miles then sent a ball up the middle to center to seal the game for the Hawks.