A second consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division title still is in sight, but going undefeated in the South for the first time won't happen in 2016.
Ashland University's baseball team split its doubleheader at Walsh on Saturday (April 23), winning 5-3 and losing 14-12. The Eagles, who had their five-game winning streak snapped with the Game 2 loss, are 24-13 overall, 15-3 in the GLIAC and 11-1 in the South.
The Cavaliers are 19-19/10-8/7-5.
Both Saturday games were back-and-forth affairs. Game 1's swings weren't as pronounced, however.
The Eagles scored twice in the top of the second and once in the third to take an early 3-0 lead in the opener. Senior center fielder Nick Edwards hit a two-run home run in the second, and sophomore third baseman J.P. Sorma added an RBI single in the third.
The Cavaliers responded with a three-spot in the bottom of the third for a 3-3 tie. Ashland, however, took the lead for good in the fifth thanks to a solo homer from sophomore left fielder Greg Ludwig, and added a seventh-inning insurance run when junior designated hitter Lance Myers picked up a run-scoring single.
Junior right-handed pitcher Brandyn Sittinger made it 8-for-8 in winning decisions this spring by allowing just six hits, three runs and two walks and striking out 12 in a complete-game victory.
Myers was 3-for-4 and Sorma 2-for-3 in AU's eight-hit attack.
Game 2 was a wild seesaw affair, one in which Walsh scored five times in the bottom of the second, twice in the third and once in the fourth to take an 8-1 lead into the fifth inning.
Ashland, however, more than returned serve, scoring seven times in the fifth and four more runs in the sixth to take a 12-8 advantage. Senior first baseman Mackenzie Hampshire (three-run homer) and Myers (two-run single) highlighted the fifth, and both Edwards and junior catcher Adam Vasil hit two-run round-trippers in the sixth.
Walsh, however, got the last word by scoring three runs each in the sixth and eighth innings for the final margin of victory.
Senior right fielder Mike Lewandowski, Myers and Edwards each had three of Ashland's 17 hits, and Ludwig and Hampshire each rapped two. Junior lefty Mike Gentile took the relief loss after giving up three hits, three runs and a walk and striking out four in 2 2/3 innings.
The Eagles and Cavaliers will finish their four-game set in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday (April 24) at 1 p.m.