Playing host to the No. 8-ranked Grand Valley State Lakers on Sunday (March 24) afternoon at Brookside Park, the #RV Ashland University softball team rallied for a 12-inning 4-3 victory in Game 1, then lost in six innings, 14-6, in Game 2.
With the split, the Eagles are 17-9 overall and 3-3 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Lakers are 19-3, 3-1.
"The first game, very exciting being able to come from behind," said Ashland head coach Emlyn Knerem. "It's a very, very good club over there. To get that first one felt really good.
"That second game, offensively, we did well enough to win. We didn't get the job done defensively."
For the second season in a row, Ashland gave a nationally-ranked GVSU squad its first GLIAC defeat.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- Ashland danced out of trouble in the top of the first inning of the first game, stranding three Laker runners on base. The Eagles took advantage right away when senior first baseman Kylie Asmus scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first.
- Grand Valley State had runners on second and third with one out in the top of the fifth, and tied the game at 1 on an RBI single from Taylor Rieger. The Lakers did, however, leave two runners in scoring position.
- The "international tiebreaker" rule went into effect in the top of the 10th inning, and GVSU scored on a two-run home run from Lydia Goble to take a 3-1 lead. Ashland countered two runs of its own in the bottom of the 10th thanks to a sacrifice fly from Asmus and an RBI single by junior second baseman Camille Pollutro.
- After keeping the Lakers off the scoreboard in the 11th and 12th, Asmus delivered the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th with an RBI single to center field to score junior shortstop Bree Gill.
- Grand Valley State came out in Game 2 and scored twice in the top of the first. The Lakers added three runs in the second for a 5-0 lead – with all five runs posted unearned.
- Ashland rallied for three runs in the bottom of the second on run-scoring singles from senior center fielder Erika Farst (one run) and Asmus (two runs), cutting its deficit to two runs at 5-3.
- The two teams traded runs in the third (including a solo home run from AU junior designated player Dayna Denner) for a 6-4 game, then the Lakers posted two more unearned runs in the fourth to increase their lead to 8-4. GVSU added a six-spot in the sixth, and Ashland scored twice more in the sixth for the game's final margin.
- Sophomore pitcher Laney Jones (7-4) has earned a win over the Lakers for the second time in two seasons, and did so with a 12-inning complete-game nine-hitter. Jones allowed three runs (two earned) and two walks and struck out four.
- Asmus was 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs, while Jones and Farst each added two of AU's 11 hits.
- Laker pitcher Allison Lipovsky went 11 innings, allowing 11 hits, four runs (one earned) and no walks and striking out 15.
- In Game 2, Asmus was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, pushing her season batting average to .349 and giving her a seven-game hitting streak.
- Senior pitcher Hannah Stroe (8-5) allowed eight hits, eight runs (only one earned) and three walks and struck out two in 4 2/3 frames in Game 2.
THEY SAID IT
Knerem – "Our defense held it down (in Game 1). Getting that double play in the 12th was huge for us. Laney really beared down, she pitched a really, really good game, stayed strong for 12 innings."
Knerem on Asmus – "She was seeing the ball well, she got a good pitch to hit and she drove it into the gap, and we were able to score that run."
Knerem on facing top teams – "We just talked with the team. Grand Valley is very, very good. Today, we should have been better than them. We just had more errors (in Game 2). We know that we can play with anybody. It's just a matter of not beating ourselves."
The last of four consecutive home doubleheaders on Wednesday (March 27) at 3 p.m. at Brookside Park against No. 15 Wayne State (19-6, 2-2).