Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON – Kevin Delzell’s strong pitching helped Ashford come away with a split as it began its final home weekend of the season with a split against Clarke in college baseball Friday afternoon at Ashford University Field.
Ashford got a strong pitching performance from senior Cam Bortell in the opening game, too, but couldn’t solve the Clarke pitching staff in a 4-3 loss. Ashford rebounded in Game 2, picking up a 3-0 win on the back of Delzell’s second shutout of the year.
Juniors John Caravia and Larry Herron finished with three hits each to lead the Ashford offense. Bortell and Delzell combined to strike out 15 batters on the day as Ashford moved to 12-23-1 on the year.
Delzell, from Tiffin, was in control from the opening pitch, striking out the side in the top of the first inning. His batterymate, catcher Tomas Chardon, gave his pitcher the lead in the bottom of the second with an RBI single to left, scoring R.J. Roberts from second base.
AU added to the lead in the fourth when Herron tripled to deep right-center field, scoring Lucas Pattison from first. Herron trotted home on the next pitch when Patrick Pinlac found a hole in the infield to make it 3-0 Saints.
It proved to be more than enough for Delzell, who battled out of a second-and-third jam in the fifth to keep the Crusaders scoreless. With two down in the seventh, Clarke (17-27) loaded the bases, but Delzell induced Brian LaMere into a game-ending flyout to finish off the shutout.
Delzell (3-2) allowed eight hits and struck out eight to pick up his second shutout in his fifth career start.
Jake Schaefer (0-2) allowed nine hits in five innings with one strikeout in defeat.
In the opener, Ashford capitalized on a bases-loaded error in the bottom of the first inning that allowed Tanner Courtney to come across the plate, giving the Saints the early lead.
That advantage was short-lived as the Crusaders scored four times on four hits off Bortell in the second inning. Ashford cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the second, thanks to RBI singles from Tyler Davis and Manny Acevedo.
Both pitching staffs took over from there, allowing seven combined hits over the final five innings. Brayden Poole allowed only one hit in two innings to pick up the save for Clarke.
Making his first career start, Battle Creek, Mich., native Bortell allowed six hits and struck out seven in a complete-game effort.
Jordan Hohensee (3-5) scattered nine hits over five innings, striking out three to pick up the win.
The Saints are home for the final time this season at noon today when they host Mount Mercy on Senior Day.