Auburndale, FLA – The University of Findlay baseball team played a non-conference matchup with Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) foe Ashland University on Monday, March 2. The Oilers led much of the contest but ended up falling on a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning. The loss moved their record to 1-2 on the young season.
After the teams traded zeros to start the game, Ashland struck first when they scored three runs in the bottom half of the second inning. They did so on the strength of four hits.
Findlay answered in a big way in the top of inning number four. After getting outs via groundout and pickoff, it looked like a quick inning was in store but with two outs, Peter Yorgen Walked. Walks to Austin Adams and Roman Kuster loaded the bases for Troy Merriman who also walked, ending the day for Ashland's starting pitcher. Miguel Valdez followed the walks with a single to left center which scored a pair of runs and tying the score at 3-3, but the Oilers were not done. Kevin Schrock walked and Evan Hollar followed with a single which scored Schrock. An error allowed another run to score and when the dust had settled, the Oilers were up 6-3, all with two outs.
Both pitchers got into a groove and went scoreless for the next few innings until Findlay struck again in the top of the fifth.
With one out, Schrock singled and advanced on a Hollar walk. They both advanced on a groundout and after a wild pitch scored Schrock, Jon Shollenberger hit an RBI single to right field, scoring Hollar and putting the score at 8-3 in the top of the fifth. At that point the Oilers were done scoring, but with Colin Gossard throwing well on the mound, it looked as though Findlay would come out on top.
Ashland chipped away as they scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings and scored two in the eighth. In the eighth, it looked as though the Eagles would strike for more as they had a runner on third base with one out as Alex Williams entered the game. The senior induced a pop up and a strikeout to end the threat with Findlay still ahead 8-7 heading into the ninth.
Findlay went quietly in the top half of the ninth leaving the Oilers just three outs away from their second win of the season but those final three outs are always the toughest to get.
Ashland began the inning with a single, sac bunt, and groundout. With two outs and a runner on third, Findlay ahead 8-7, Stephen James stepped to the plate and belted a first pitch fastball over the right field fence for a walk off homerun.
Offensively, Miguel Valdez was the only Oiler with multiple hits as he had two singles in the game and collected two RBI's.
Gossard pitched a solid outing in his first outing as he went 6.1 innings and scattered 15 hits. He allowed five earned runs and struck out one but walked no hitters.
The Oilers are back in action tomorrow as they take on Wheeling Jesuit in a double header set to begin at noon.