The Ashland University baseball team left a rain-soaked Ernie Harwell Field on Thursday trailing Wayne State, 3-0, after four innings in the first game of a four-game series. A little less than 48 hours later, the Eagles scored 10 runs in a three-inning stretch and then held on for a 10-9 win in the completion of that game.
The victory gave the Eagles the series win over the Warriors, despite falling in Saturday's series finale, 8-3, through more rain showers in Detroit.
Senior right-hander Pat Carlozzi got the call to start the fifth inning for the Eagles (12-9, 4-4 GLIAC) in the conclusion of Friday's game. He kept Wayne State (11-13, 2-6 GLIAC) off the board in the fifth and gave the Eagles the chance to tie the game in the top of the sixth.
Junior Matt Littrell finally got the Eagles on the board with a solo blast to start the inning, and after freshman Micah Allen was hit by a pitch, senior Connor Barleben lifted the first pitch he saw over the wall down the right field line to knot the score at 3.
The Warriors took a brief 4-3 lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth before Littrell's two-run blast – his second of the game – gave AU a 5-4 lead in the seventh. Wayne State tied the game at 5 in the bottom of the seventh on a sac fly.
Then the AU offensive exploded. Sophomore Carson Mittermaier reached on an infield single before Barleben's second homer of the game gave Ashland a 7-5 lead. Sophomore Vince Vanata followed back-to-back singles by sophomore Kevin Browne and junior Sam Hawley with a double down the left field line to make it 8-5.
Freshman Austin Eifrid then bunted on the infield and both Hawley and Vanata came around to score on the play to put the Eagles up 10-5.
Junior right-hander Ryan Curtis came on in the eighth and gave up just a one-out single to keep the score at 10-5. The Warriors rallied in the ninth, loading the bases with two outs and trailing 10-6.
Ashland head coach John Schaly turned to Allen, who moved from third base to the mound. A passed ball, followed by a two-run double by Patrick Adams made it a one-run game with a runner at second, but Allen induced a groundout to end the game.
Carlozzi (1-0) earned the win in relief of junior Chris Slavik, who tossed the first four innings on Friday. Carlozzi gave up two runs on two hits in three innings. Allen earned his second save of the year.
Littrell and Barleben each homered twice and combined to drive in seven runs. Littrell was 2-for-3 and walked twice. Barleben and Hawley had three hits apiece.
Taylor Horn (1-2) took the loss for the Warriors.
In Saturday's series finale, the Eagles took a 1-0 lead when freshman Austin Eifrid scored on a passed ball in the first inning. Wayne State answered with three in the bottom half, then scored single runs in the second and fourth innings to take a 5-1 lead.
Barleben drove in runs in the sixth and eighth innings to cut the margin in half, but Wayne State put the game away with three in the eighth.
Freshman right-hander Josh Stover suffered the loss, giving up five runs (three earned) in three innings. Reliever Addison Pawelek earned the victory for the Warriors, tossing five relief innings. Wayne State struck out 18 batters in the game.
Littrell led the AU offense with two hits and a walk while Barleben went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs.
The Eagles will return to the field on Wednesday (April 4) at 3 p.m. when they take on West Liberty in non-league action at Donges Field.