Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON – For the final time this year, the Ashford University baseball team took to the friendly confines of Ashford University Field. The results weren’t so friendly, though.
In a doubleheader dominated by pitching, Mount Mercy swept the Saints on Saturday, winning the first game 3-2 in nine innings and taking the second game 4-1.
Manny Acevedo and John Caravia had three hits each and senior Tomas Chardon drove in two runs to lead the Ashford offense. But the Saints managed only 10 hits on the day, dropping to 12-25-1 on the year.
After a scoreless eighth, the Mustangs broke through in the top of the ninth in the opener, taking advantage of an Ashford error to plate the go-ahead run. Hank Bratten worked a scoreless ninth to earn the save and close the book on game one.
The Mustangs (10-23) put the first crooked number up on the board in their second at-bat of the game on a pair of RBI singles from Austin Czerwiec and Zak Morgan off AU starter Jimmy Six to make it a 2-0 game
Ashford’s offense struggled to get anything going against Mustangs starter Steven Hoyos, managing only three hits through the first six innings.
Down to their final out of the game, the Saints pulled even when Chardon, one of the team’s 10 seniors, singled to left field, scoring R.J. Roberts and Patrick Pinlac, sending the game to extra innings.
Six (1-4) went eight innings, giving up one earned run on seven hits with five strikeouts in his final career home start.
Pitchers dominated the first three innings of Game 2. AU’s Steven Sotiropoulos and Mount Mercy’s Marshall Morgan combined to allow only two hits. But just as they had done in the opener, the Mustangs opened the scoring, plating two runs in the top of the fourth, chasing Sotiropoulos from the game.
Ashford cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning thanks to an Acevedo RBI single, but two more Mustang runs in the seventh extended the lead to three.
The Saints threatened in their final at-bat, loading the bases with one out. But AU couldn’t get a runner home as Mustangs reliever Michael Stellmack retired the final two batters to earn the save.
Sotiropoulos (3-4) allowed two runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out one in defeat.
The Saints will hit the road for their final four games of the season, starting with a doubleheader against Viterbo University on Thursday in LaCrosse, Wis.