Eagles Hold Off Lake Erie, 9-8

Austin Walts (26)
Austin Walts (26)

            Sometimes what works in running can be applied to baseball.

            The Ashland University baseball team had a steady pace on Tuesday (Apr. 2) at Lake Erie, scoring in seven of the game's nine innings. The host Storm tried to see if a late sprint could help them make up all the ground they had to cover. In the end, the home team tired before it reached the finish line.

            The Eagles, ranked 14th in the country, scored in each of the first four innings and led, 5-1 entering the sixth inning. Heading to the bottom of the ninth inning, AU was in front, 9-1. The Storm scored seven times in that inning before the Eagles got the final out and the first win in this three-game series. The teams will be back at LEC on Wednesday (Apr. 3) for a doubleheader.

            Ashland is 18-6, 7-2 in the GLIAC. The Storm is 6-16 and 3-6.

            The Eagles collected nine hits off of seven Lake Erie pitchers. Catcher John Broll (Mississagua, Ont./Genesee C.C.) was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Shortstop Austin Walts (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI and a homer. Third baseman Wade Kaido (Zanesville, Ohio) was 2-for-5 with a double and three runs scored.

            First baseman Tyler Gray (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) got AU off and running with an RBI single in the first inning. Broll singled to drive in a run in the third and Walts belted a two-run homer in the fourth. AU's last two runs came in the eighth inning on a two-run single by Broll.

            At that point, the Storm was doing very little at the plate. AU starter Brad Thomas (Orrville, Ohio) pitched the first eight innings and allowed a run on five hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six. Thomas is 5-1.

            The Storm got itself back in the game against the AU bullpen. Jon Thacker (Bellbrook, Ohio/Sinclair C.C.)  and Cole Hudson (Dresden, Ohio/Zanesville, Ohio) couldn't keep Lake Erie under wraps in the ninth. Finally, Zach Botjer (Deshler, Ohio/Sinclair C.C.) entered and he got the final three outs for his fourth save. Botjer allowed one hit.

            Third baseman Cody Blood spearheaded the LEC attack. He was 3-for-4 with a double, homer and three RBI.

            The loss went to Doug Fox (1-2), who pitched the first four innings and was touched for five runs on six hits.