The Ashland University baseball team fell behind 5-0 in the first inning, rallied to take a lead, then posted a six-run ninth inning to snap a 6-6 tie and beat Walsh, 12-7, in a topsy-turvy game in North Canton, Ohio on Tuesday (April 9) afternoon.
The Eagles (27-4), now ranked No. 6 in the NCBWA poll, maintained the best winning percentage (.871) in Division II.
The Cavaliers (15-15) scored the first five runs of the game on the strength of seven hits in the first inning as they got into the AU bullpen in the opening frame.
Senior Ryan Curtis gave the Eagles a gutsy outing, turning in 5 1/3 shutout innings out of the pen to give the AU offense a chance to get going.
The Eagles immediately responded in the second inning, loading the bases before senior Alex Niecikowski unloaded them when Walsh right fielder Joey Holiga committed an error and allowed all three runners to score.
Junior Carson Mittermaier made it 5-4 by leading off the third inning with his fourth home run of the season.
The Eagles put runners on the corners with two outs in the fifth. Sophomore Logan Stoldt then scored on a wild pitch before junior Michael Rogers doubled home sophomore Dillan Smith to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead.
That lead held as Curtis pitched into the sixth inning. He turned it over to junior left-hander Josh Smith, who left in the eighth inning with two runners on base. Bailey Mosley singled off AU closer Chris Slavik to tie the game at 6, but Slavik got the next two outs to keep it tied.
An RBI single by sophomore Micah Allen gave the Eagles the lead before the flood gates opened. The last three of the six runners to score came on RBI doubles by Smith, Rogers and Niecikowski.
Slavik (8-0) gave up just an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth to stay undefeated on the season. Curtis did not factor in the decision, but allowed just three hits and struck out six in his 5 1/3 dazzling innings.
Nik Barkdull (1-3) took the loss for the Cavaliers, who used seven pitchers in the game.
The Cavaliers out-hit the Eagles, 15-12, though Ashland provided more punch with five extra-base hits. Rogers led the Eagles by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI, two runs and a walk. Stoldt, Allen and Niecikowski had two hits each.
The Eagles will resume GLIAC play with a four-game series at No. 22 Wayne State, starting Friday (April 12) at 3 p.m. in Detroit.