05/27/08 — Ashland pulls off big upset

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Ashland pulls off big upset

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 27, 2008 3:43 PM

SAUGET, Ill. -- It will be a clash of come-from-behind victors when Mount Olive steps onto the field against Ashland University today.

Each team trailed in the latter stages of their respective first-round contests in the NCAA Division II College World Series. Each team staged memorable comebacks and moved within one victory of reaching the semifinals.

Jeff Yates' seventh-inning, solo home run helped Ashland turn back two-time defending national champion Tampa (Fla.) on the GCS Stadium diamond Monday evening. Yates concluded the day 3-for-4.

"This is a big day for our program," said Ashland head coach John Schaly. "We beat a very good team today."

Over their last three games, the North Central Regional champions have beaten three perennial powers -- Saint Joseph's, Wayne State and Tampa. The No. 1-ranked Trojans would be the crown jewel in the impressive collection of recent wins.

Members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the Eagles (40-16) boast an impressive offense. They're hitting .357 as a team with 51 home runs and 467 runs scored.

Ben Minard leads the Ashland pitching staff with a 4.56 earned run average. Todd Schlenkerman is 8-2 during 16 starts. The Eagles have a combined ERA of 5.44 and opponents are batting .307 against them.

Meanwhile, Mount Olive, the Conference Carolinas champion, is batting .355 with 58 dingers and 561 runs scored. The Trojans are 55-6 overall.