CLINTON – Thanks to a dominant pitching performance and a patient approach at the plate, Ashford earned a doubleheader split with Trinity College of Illinois on Wednesday in college baseball at Ashford University Field.
The Saints (19-17) bounced back from a 6-3 loss in the opener to win Game 2 8-0 behind Jim Miller’s second career shutout.
Miller (5-2) retired the first 11 batters he faced in the four-hitter. He struck out five batters and walked none.
He got all the runs he needed in Ashford’s first trip to the plate. The Saints took advantage of four first-inning Troll errors to plate three runs.
One inning later, the Saints’ plate discipline paid off, leading to a five-run frame. Five Saints reached base via walk or hit by pitch, with R.J. Roberts and Kevin Silva doing so with the bases loaded. After Jean Carlos Peralta scored on a wild pitch with the bags still full, Riki Vasquez brought home two with a single up the middle to cap the scoring.
In the opener, the Trolls (22-19) wasted no time jumping to a lead they would hold the entire game, scoring five runs on seven hits in the first two innings against Ashford starter Kevin Delzell.
Trinity Christian stretched the lead to 6-0 before Ashford broke its scoreless drought with a two-run single off the bat of Lucas Pattison in the bottom of the fifth. The Saints cut the lead in half thanks to a Tyler Davis RBI single in the seventh, but they were unable to pull any closer.
Delzell (6-5) allowed only two hits over the final five innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Brad Kopale (3-2) earned the win after allowing two runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
The Saints will put the finishing touches on their current homestand Friday with a 3 p.m. game against Clarke.