The Ashland University baseball team advanced to the semifinals of GLIAC Tournament winner's bracket with an 8-0 blanking of Grand Valley State on Saturday (May 12), but top seed Northwood topped the Eagles, 5-1, to send AU into the consolation bracket.
The No. 3-seed Eagles will now be required to win three games on Sunday to claim their second GLIAC Tournament championship. AU will play the winner of Saturday night's GVSU-Davenport game. If the Eagles win that, they will have to beat Northwood twice for the title.
First pitch will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
"We've got to get the first one," said AU head coach John Schaly. "We'll take it one at a time. We want another shot at Northwood and we've got to win the first one to get another crack at them."
The win over the Lakers was AU's second straight shutout with junior Devin Peters overpowering GVSU for eight innings. Freshman Josh Stover continued the string of shutout innings into the fourth. Their 22-inning scoreless streak was the program's longest since 2003.
"Both guys threw great. Along with (Chance) Hitchcock last night, we've had three great quality starts from our pitchers," Schaly said. "You can't ask for anything more from them."
#3 Ashland 8, #5 Grand Valley State 0
Junior right-hander Devin Peters was dominant in eight innings and the offense broke the game open with a six-run seventh inning as the Eagles cruised to an 8-0 win.
Peters danced around some control issues in the first inning before Ashland (32-19) scored a run on an error in the bottom of the inning.
The Lakers (28-22) had baserunners in all but one of Peters' eight innings, but they stranded 10 in the game.
"In my recent games I was struggling with leaving the fastball up, so I've just been working on my off-speed for strikes," said Peters. "I've been working on get-me-over curveballs on 0-0 counts so they don't have an idea of what's coming."
Ashland brought home six runs in the seventh inning. The first two scored on a single through the middle by sophomore Carson Mittermaier. Senior Connor Barleben followed it up with a two-run double into the gap. He eventually scored when sophomore Vince Vanata reached on an error and Vanata scored the final run by stealing home on a double-steal attempt.
"I knew it was going to be a close game with Grand Valley," said Peters. "I just wanted to do my job because I knew my hitters would do their job, and they did."
In the ninth, senior Pat Carlozzi needed just four pitches, inducing a pop out and two groundouts.
The Eagles out-hit the Lakers, 10-6. Junior Sam Hawley was 3-for-4 with a double and Barleben was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Peters (7-5) earned the win, striking out nine and walking three in eight innings. Arnold (6-3) gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings for the Lakers.
#1 Northwood 5, #3 Ashland 1
The Eagles turned to freshman right-hander Josh Stover, who gave the Eagles 5 2/3 solid innings.
He held the Timberwolves (37-14) off the board until Nick Palmer touched him up for a solo home run in the fourth inning. Northwood tacked on a couple more runs in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead.
Ashland finally got to Northwood starter Max Bain in the seventh inning. Ludwig single and went to second on a wild pitch. Vanata put runners on the corners with a single and sophomore Michael Rogers drew a walk to load the bases. After a strikeout, Hawley reached on an infield single to score a run, but a double play ended the threat.
The Timberwolves pulled away with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, taking a 5-1 lead.
Stover (1-6) took the loss, giving up three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five. Bain (6-0) allowed just one run on four hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. Reliever Lennon Gwizdala recorded his 13th save with three scoreless relief innings.
Ludwig reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk. The Timberwolves out-hit the Eagles, 9-6.