Findlay, OH – The University of Findlay opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play on a 38 degree, Sunday, March 19 with a double-header split against Ashland University. After the home-opener, the Oilers have a record of 10-2 overall and sit with a 1-1 mark in conference play while the Eagles are 7-10 and 1-1.
Despite the cold weather, the Oilers bats were hot in the first contest. Findlay would finish the game with four runs on ten hits and no errors on the board. They had double-digit hits for the eighth time this season.
The scoring opened in the bottom of the first inning when senior Logan Harrah and sophomore Derrick Herd opened the game with walks. Junior Pete Burkett followed with a single to load the bases, the first of multiple bases loaded situations the Oilers would see on the day. Senior Peter Yorgen, who owns a top-30 batting average in the country at .452, singled through the left side of the infield to score Harrah and put Findlay up 1-0. After a pair of strike outs, a wild pitch would send Herd across the plate to give the home team a 2-0.
Findlay went up 3-0 in the second when junior Troy Merriman, who began the inning with a walk, would ultimately score on a bases loaded sacrifice fly off the bat of Burkett.
Both teams traded zeros until the top of the fifth when Ashland scored a single run to cut the Findlay lead to 3-1. In the top of the seventh, the Eagles would tie the game with a homerun off the bat of Greg Ludwig.
The game looked like it would end in the bottom of the seventh as the Oilers would load the bases with no outs, but a pop out and two strikeouts would end the threat and send the game to extra innings.
Senior closer AJ Cecil pitched the top of the eighth and pitched around a single and hit batter to get the Oilers to their half of the inning. Merriman, also a top-30 average in the nation at .459, would lead off with a single and was run for by Brendan Phillips. A throwing error by Ashland on a sacrifice bunt attempt would put runners on first and second with no outs. Logan Harrah dropped a sacrifice bunt down and Derrick Herd, who had three hits in the game, would single to right for Findlay's fourth walk off win of the year.
Senior Austin Rodesky got the start and threw seven solid innings, allowing three runs, two of which came on the seventh inning home run, on four hits. He struck out eight and walked just two.
A first team all-GLIAC performer from last year, AJ Cecil came on in the eighth and pitched one inning without allowing a run to collect his league-leading, fourth win of the season.
Herd finished the game 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Merriman also had a multi-hit game with a 2-for-3 game. It's the sixth game this year that Merriman has had two hits in a game.
Pitching dominated the second contest of the day as both teams would combine for just six hits and two runs.
Ashland scored both of those runs in the second inning to go up 2-0, the eventual final score.
The Oilers could not get the big hit they needed in the nightcap as they would strand eight runners on base including leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
Findlay got a good outing from junior Colin Gossard. The Lima, OH native would throw six innings of two-hit ball and allow just two runs. He struck out eight but did allow five walks and two hit batters.
Ashland and Findlay are scheduled to complete the series with a double-header on Tuesday, March 21 at the Cube. The first game is set to begin at 2:00pm.