Former Ashland University and Major League Baseball player Gene Stechschulte has earned induction into the Great Lakes Valley Conference Hall of Fame, as the 2016 class was released on Tuesday (Feb. 2).
Stechschulte played for the Eagle baseball team from 1993-96 as a shortstop and pitcher. Two decades after finishing his collegiate career, he still ranks in a tie for second in AU history in home runs in a season (15) and fourth in single-season total bases (143). In his final GLVC season as a junior in 1995, helping Ashland reach the NCAA Division II College World Series for the first time, Stechschulte hit .391 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs.
Following his AU career, Stechschulte worked his way through the St. Louis Cardinals farm system as an undrafted free agent before debuting in the majors on April 20, 2000. In 116 career MLB games, all in relief, he was 8-7 with six saves and a 4.58 earned-run average. Stechschulte's best season in the bigs came in 2001, when he sported a 3.86 ERA in 67 relief appearances.
As a pinch-hitter, he also became the 16th player in MLB history to hit a home run on the first pitch he saw on April 17, 2001 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Stechschulte became just the second former Eagle to play Major League Baseball, following Ken Kravec (1975-82).
Stechschulte is a 1996 Summa Cum Laude graduate of AU.
Currently, Stechschulte is the head baseball coach at Ohio Northern.
Joining Stechschulte in the 2016 GLVC Hall class are Wisconsin-Parkside's Amber Antonia (cross country/track & field), Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne's Dottie (Porch) Hampton (volleyball) and Lewis' Robin Martz (softball).
The GLVC Hall of Fame Class of 2016 will be honored at the Enterprise Rent-a-Car/GLVC Spring Awards Banquet at the Drury Plaza Hotel in St. Louis on Tuesday, May 24.