It isn't the Staples "easy button," but the reset button Ashland University's baseball team hit recently has been just as effective.
Since deciding to reset the 2016 season following an 8-8 start, the Eagles have won five consecutive games – the last two coming to finish a four-game sweep of Ohio Dominican at Donges Field on Monday (March 28), 13-0 and 10-3.
"Obviously, it was a great weekend," said Ashland head coach John Schaly. "We said we were going to start the season over. And we feel that this season, we're 5-0. We changed the mindset a little bit, a little bit more discipline.
"To sweep anybody's tough. They've got a good ballclub. They're going to win some games."
Ashland is the early-season Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division leader at 13-8, 4-0, while the Panthers are 11-7-1, 0-4.
In Monday's opener, the Eagles scored all their runs in the first three innings – three in the bottom of the first, two in the second and eight in the third.
Sophomore designated hitter Greg Ludwig was 2-for-2 with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored, while senior center fielder Nick Edwards was 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Derek Baker improved to 2-2 following a complete-game three-hit shutout. Baker struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.
In the nightcap, the Eagles needed to rally from a 3-0 deficit after 2½ innings. Ashland posted a run in the bottom of the third on an Edwards RBI single, then took the lead for good with a five-spot in the bottom of the fourth, where junior third baseman Lance Myers and sophomore left fielder J.P. Sorma each had two-run singles.
AU added four runs for good measure in the bottom of the eighth, three coming on a Sorma homer.
Sorma was 2-for-4 with five RBIs, senior right fielder Mike Lewandowski and Ludwig each had two hits and Myers drove in two runs.
Said Sorma, who had two homers and nine RBIs in the series, "It felt really good. This was huge for us to get all four. To get a sweep is huge. We played well on both sides of the field. We're all hitting the ball well, we're playing good defense. Things are lining up."
"We had a lot of new guys playing this year. Now, they're getting the experience," said Schaly. "They're starting to perform."
Sophomore right-hander Luke Smith earned his first win of 2016 with 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out four and walked one.
AU's bullpen threw six scoreless innings on Monday, and came into the day with a 1.27 earned-run average at home in the early going.
"We feel like we've got depth on the mound," Schaly said. "Guys are throwing well. We feel very confident with our bullpen. We've got a lot of good arms in our bullpen."
Ashland will return to Donges Field for a nine-inning non-conference game against West Liberty (14-7) on Wednesday (March 30) at 3 p.m.