Baseball Takes Two From Panthers To Open GLIAC Play

Baseball Takes Two From Panthers To Open GLIAC Play

In the collective mind of Ashland University's baseball team, its record in 2016 is 3-0, not 11-8.

The Eagles started Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday (March 26) at Donges Field with a doubleheader sweep of Ohio Dominican, 5-0 and 13-8. AU is 11-8 overall and 2-0 in the conference, while the Panthers are 11-5-1, 0-2.

Following back-to-back losses to Saginaw Valley State at home in non-conference games on March 19 and 20, Ashland was 8-8. The team hit the reset button, and has won three straight games since.

"It was a good day for us," said Ashland head coach John Schaly. "We beat two good pitchers, and played well. We swung the bats, got the big hits, strung them together.

"It was two good wins. These guys have been playing well."

In Game 1, the story was junior right-handed pitcher Brandyn Sittinger, who was four outs away from a seven-inning no-hitter. He finished with a complete-game one-hitter, improving to 3-0 after striking out 12 and walking four.

"Once I got to like the sixth inning, it sunk in," Sittinger said. "It felt good. I knew I could throw any pitch in any spot, and knew my defense had my back.

"We said the other day with Cedarville we were 0-0 going into that game. We wanted to start over. Since then, we are 3-0."

All five runs in the opener were scored in the bottom of the fourth inning, punctuated by sophomore left fielder J.P Sorma's first home run as an Eagle, a three-run opposite-field shot.

In Game 2, the Eagles trailed 3-0 after 1½ innings and 3-2 after 2½ before turning the offense back on. AU scored four times in the bottom of the third to take a 6-3 lead, then put up a five-spot in the fifth to go ahead 11-4.

Ashland scored twice in the seventh, giving it four crooked numbers in the game and five in the twinbill.

Senior right fielder Nick Edwards was 3-for-4, drove in four runs and fell a triple short of the cycle.

"It feels good. It's good to get back on track," Edwards said. "We were just clicking today. It was great.

"Coach did a good job of rallying us after that Saginaw series, just make sure our minds were cleared and ready to go. We have a fresh mindset."

Senior first baseman Mackenzie Hampshire was 4-for-5 with a double, RBI and three runs scored, while junior catcher Adam Vasil was 1-for-1 with two RBIs.

"I think we're going to start hitting the way we are capable, one through nine in the order," Schaly said. "I think it's starting to come around."

Junior righty Cory Teachout earned his first win of 2016 with four innings of relief, while junior lefty Mike Gentile picked up his first save following eight strikeouts and two hits in three innings.

"He threw great, pounded the zone, threw strikes. He really helped us out," Schaly said of Gentile.

Ashland leads the all-time series against Ohio Dominican, 29-24.

The Eagles and Panthers will play two more GLIAC games at Donges Field on Monday (March 28) at 2 p.m.