There were a lot of wins represented at Brookside Park's main softball diamond on Saturday (March 23) afternoon, as some of Ashland University's alumni were back to watch the 2019 Eagles.
And those 2019 Eagles added two more victories to the program's total, thanks to an 8-0, five-inning decision in Game 1, and a come-from-behind 10-inning 4-3 showing in Game 2, over Ferris State in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader.
Ashland improves to 16-8 overall and 2-2 in the GLIAC, while the Bulldogs go to 9-13, 0-2.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- Ashland got off to a quick start in Game 1, scoring in the bottom of the first inning on a three-run home run from senior third baseman Paige Summers. The Eagles extended their lead to 5-0 on second-inning RBI singles from senior first baseman Kylie Asmus and senior right fielder Halle Dorko.
- In the bottom of the fourth, Ashland scored three runs to end the game early. A pair of Bulldog errors led to two of those runs being unearned.
- Ferris State got a leadoff triple in the top of the second inning of Game 2, but a groundout, a fielder's choice out at home and a called strike three got the Eagles out of the jam. Then, with FSU having runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the fourth, AU used a strikeout, a pickoff and a groundout to keep the Bulldogs scoreless.
- In the top of the fifth, Ferris State broke through thanks to an RBI double from Katie Ross. The Bulldogs did, however, leave the bases loaded, setting up Ashland's comeback in the later innings.
- Down to its last three outs in regulation, Ashland delivered the tying run in the bottom of the seventh on junior second baseman Camille Pollutro's sacrifice fly.
- The two teams traded runs in the ninth inning. After Ferris State scored in the top, Ashland junior shortstop Bree Gill launched a homer on the first pitch of the bottom of the frame.
- Then came the "international tiebreaker" in the 10th inning, where the Bulldogs once again scored to take a 3-2 lead. Needing to rally once more, the Eagles did just that, with Summers ending her day the way she started it – a home run, a two-run shot to center field to end the twinbill.
- In the first game, Summers drove in four runs, Asmus was 3-for-3 with a double, RBI and run scored, and senior center fielder Erika Farst was 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored.
- Sophomore pitcher Laney Jones (6-4) turned in her third complete-game shutout of the spring, allowing one hit and one walk and striking out five in five innings and lowering her season earned-run average to 1.82.
- Senior pitcher Hannah Stroe (8-4) gutted out 10 innings and 179 pitches (113 strikes) in Game 2, striking out 13 and allowing 12 hits, three runs (two earned) and four walks.
- Ferris State left 13 runners on base in the nightcap.
- For Summers, her two round-trippers were her first and second of 2019, and the 12th and 13th of her Eagle career.
THEY SAID IT
- Ashland head coach Emlyn Knerem – "Game 1, we looked great. Hitting was there, Laney was spectacular on the mound, and we played really good defense. We hung with them (in Game 2), we got runs when we needed to, and Paige came up big in that last inning."
- Knerem on Summers – "That's going to be a huge confidence booster for her. Softball's a mental game, and when you get in those slumps, it's tough to get out of them."
- Stroe on the 10th inning in Game 2 – "We're very resilient. This team, specifically, we know it doesn't take one person. It takes everybody. When we went into this last inning, we said, 'together,' because we knew we all needed to be together and do it."
- Summers – "Every game's a must-win at this point, because our conference is so tough. This one was a good one to sweep. I've recently been struggling a little bit, so just to get up to the plate with no pressure – I know this team was going to pull this out one way or the other."
The fifth and sixth games of the eight-game homestand on Sunday (March 24) at noon at Brookside Park vs. No. 8 Grand Valley State (18-2, 2-0).