Ashland University's baseball team had the chance to win just one game on Saturday (April 30), but, as it turns out, the Eagles gained a lot more than an on-field W.
With a 4-1 win over Malone at Donges Field in Game 1 of what was supposed to be a doubleheader on Saturday, Ashland has clinched both a second straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division title and a spot in the 2016 GLIAC Tournament, May 12-15 in Xenia, Ohio.
The Eagles improve to 28-14 overall, 19-4 in the GLIAC and 15-2 in the South with their third win in a row and ninth win in their last 11 games. The Pioneers are 23-20/15-10/12-7.
Game 2 on Saturday was rained out, and has been rescheduled for Sunday (May 1) at 1 p.m.
All the runs AU would need on Saturday came in the bottom of the first inning. Senior first baseman Mackenzie Hampshire doubled in the game's first run, and sophomore third baseman J.P. Sorma followed with a two-run home run.
Ashland's fourth and final run of the game came in the fifth on a Hampshire RBI fielder's choice.
Sorma and Hampshire each drove in two runs, while senior right fielder Mike Lewandowski scored twice. Hampshire and Sorma each had two of the Eagles' eight hits.
Senior right-hander Jake Baldwin improved to 4-0 this season and 22-2 for his AU career after allowing just one hit, one run and two walks and striking out four in four innings. Sophomore righty Luke Smith earned his first save of 2016 with three innings of one-hit relief.