KENT, Ohio – Starting off the 2019 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional 1 at Schoonover Stadium, the host No. 8/13 Ashland University baseball team lost to in-state rival Tiffin, 17-10, on Thursday (May 16) night.
The Eagles, the regional's No. 1 seed, are 41-12, while the Dragons, the No. 8 seed, are 25-29 following their seventh consecutive win.
Ashland found itself behind early when, on the first batter and first pitch of the game, Tiffin's Cody Orr hit a home run to left-center field to start things off. To begin the second inning, Jack Dennis took the second pitch of the frame out to right field for a 2-0 Dragon advantage.
Tiffin later had runners on second and third with no outs in the second, resulting in back-to-back RBI infield singles from Orr and Brayden Callihan, and, later, a bases-loaded RBI walk from John Heckman.
The 5-0 Dragons lead through 1½ innings became a 5-3 advantage through two, as the Eagles dented the scoreboard on RBI singles by sophomore left fielder Logan Moss and junior designated hitter Carson Mittermaier, with a run-scoring Dragon error squeezed in-between.
While senior right-hander Devin Peters kept Tiffin scoreless in innings 3-5, the Eagles knotted the game at 5 in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior third baseman Garett Robberts and an RBI fielder's choice from Moss.
Tiffin, however, stopped the AU momentum by scoring four times in the top of the sixth, with the big blow being a two-run Heckman double. Callihan added a run-scoring double in the top of the seventh for a 10-5 Tiffin advantage.
Trailing by five runs again, the Eagles went back to work, scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk from sophomore shortstop Austin Eifrid and a run which came across on a double play.
Hopes for an Ashland comeback, however, faded in the top of the eighth when Tiffin put up a six-spot.
Sophomore right fielder Dillan Smith extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 4-for-5 with a double and four runs scored, while Robberts was 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Mittermaier went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, and sophomore first baseman Micah Allen had two of AU's 18 hits.
Perry Bewley, sophomore right-hander, took the loss in relief, yielding nine hits and seven runs (five earned) and striking out one in two innings.
Ashland moves into the consolation bracket, where it will play the loser of Thursday night's Northwood-Bellarmine game on Friday (May 17) at 3:30 p.m. at Kent State.