The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 7, 2014

Weekend split for Ashford

Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald

---- — PEOSTA – Backed by a pair of dominant pitching performances, the Ashford University baseball team earned a weekend split with Clarke University, sweeping Sunday’s doubleheader.

Senior McKinley Portice tossed his first career complete game and three Saints drove in two runs in a 9-2 win. After that, freshman Kane Klais picked up his first career win with six strong innings in a 3-1 Ashford victory.

Sophomore Lucas Pattison had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Ashford offense. Ashford improved to 10-16-1 on the year, while Clarke, which won 6-5 and 5-4 in nine innings Saturday at AJ Spiegel Park, fell to 12-21.

The Saints trailed by one in the third inning of Sunday’s first game when Tanner Courtney scored on a Crusaders error. AU grabbed the lead later in the inning when Pattison, from Hamilton, Ontario, brought home two runs with a single to make it 3-1.

The Saints tacked on four more runs in the fourth on a RBI doubles from Larry Herron and Cam Bortell, as well as a run-scoring single from Tyler Davis.

R.J. Roberts brought two more runs across the plate with a single in the sixth to cap the scoring. Roberts has a team-leading 12 RBIs on the year.

Making his first start in two weeks, Portice gave up one earned run on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

In Sunday’s second game, Klais, from Fennimore, Wis., was in control from the opening pitch, retiring the first nine hitters he faced. Patrick Pinlac opened the scoring with a second-inning RBI single. One inning later, Roberts made it 2-0 with an RBI triple that brought Pattison home from first.

The Crusaders cut the lead in half with a run in the fourth, but the Ashford offense got that run back in the sixth when Manny Colon singled Pattison home from third base.

After six strong innings, Klais turned the ball over to Eric Musselman, who allowed two runners to reach base but fought his way out of it unscarred to earn his second save of the year.

Klais (1-4) scattered four hits and struck out five to pick up the win in his longest outing of the year. The freshman hurler did not walk a batter for the first time in five starts.

Next up for the Saints is a trip to Palos Heights, Ill., on Thursday for a pair of games against Trinity Christian College.