By Matt Gustus
Senior pitcher JP Ashline came to Bentley to make an impact on the baseball team. Throughout his four-year career, he has done just that.
As a freshman, Ashline was used as a bullpen arm, as he came on in relief in all of his 11 appearances that year. During that season, one thing was clear: Ashline was ready to pitch at the college level. His numbers included an ERA of 1.80 and an opponent’s batting average of .222.
Over the next two years, Ashline worked hard to transition from a bullpen guy into a full-time starter for the Falcons. In late April of his sophomore season, Ashline was given his first of many starts in a Bentley uniform as he took on Merrimack. In that game, he scattered four hits and seven strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, leading his team to an 8-0 victory.
Junior year, Ashline continued his success as a starter. In eight of his 12 appearances, he was given the start and finished the season with a 6-3 record.
To continue working on his game during the summer, Ashline played for both in both the New England Baseball Association and the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. The experience was one that, as he noted, helped improve his enjoyment of the game.
“Summer ball was much more laid back and a good time to play with new people and have some fun working on my game,” said Ashline. “I played on a few different teams this past summer, one down in Myrtle Beach and another up in Nashua, and they were both an enjoyable experience for me.”
Now in his senior year, Ashline has started in all of his appearances and has a record of 5-1. His ERA of 1.72 is the lowest on the team and his 35 strikeouts are tied for second-most on the team.
While his successful transition may seem like it came easily to him given his consistent success, Ashline has worked hard to get here.
“Hard work over my four years and the confidence of having the ball in big situations has helped me grow into the player I am today,” said Ashline.
Looking back on his Bentley experience, one game stands out among the rest as his favorite.
“My favorite moment as a Bentley baseball player was beating No. 4 Tampa 5-3 to start off our season this year,” said Ashline. “Being down 2-1 in the eighth and having [junior outfielder Tom] Nagy hit a grand slam to take the lead was one of the my most memorable moments on this team.”
In that matchup against Tampa, Ashline pitched four scoreless innings while walking two and striking out two. Unfortunately, he was not credited with the win, as the game was scoreless when he was relieved.
As the season winds down, Ashline is preparing to lead his team on a deep playoff run. Doing so would be the icing on the cake of a remarkable Bentley career.