By Dave Hart

HOLLAND – Pitching has carried the Muskegon Clippers to a nearly perfect record in the 2016 season.LSJ Logo incert

The Clippers came into Monday night’s contest with the Holland Millers allowing three runs or less in eight of their first 15 games.clippers

They continued that trend in a 7-1 victory over the Millers at Hope College.

Starter Mitch Ashcraft pitched the win for the Clippers, allowing one run on six hits while striking out nine batters in seven strong innings. Kyle Lawson pitched two scoreless inning in relief, allowing three hits while striking out two.

Muskegon is currently on a 13-game winning streak, after sweeping three games from the Mid Michigan Tigers over the weekend, then beating Holland on Monday.

The Clippers defeated the Tigers 6-2 on Friday and swept a doubleheader. 11-10 and 19-5, on Saturday.

First-place Muskegon improved to 15-0 in league play and 15-1 overall.  They have a solid lead over the second-place Millers in the Michigan Collegiate Summer Baseball League.

“Between Mitch and Kyle Lawson we did not give up any base on balls,” said Clippers Manager Walt Gawkowski. “In fact we had very few three-ball counts, so they were very efficient tonight.

“They pounded the strike zone and the defense made some good plays behind them.”

The Clippers continued their success despite last-minute roster issues, causing them to play shorthanded. They were without standouts Will Harris, Ryan Mergener and Matt Williams on Monday, but still dominated the game.

The Clippers opened the scoring in the first with an RBI single by Cameron Bair, which knocked in Jacob Buchberger.

Holland tied the game 1-1 in the second inning on an RBI fielder’s choice grounder by Brooks Ullery.

Muskegon quickly regained its lead with two runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Andrew Null and Tyler Trovinger.

The Clippers increased their advantage to 5-1 in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly by Connor Glick, and a run scored by Logan Fleener on a wild pitch.

Muskegon added another run in the sixth inning on an error that allowed Fleener to score.

The Clippers closed out the scoring with a solo homer from Bair in the ninth inning.

Fleener paced Muskegon offensively with four hits.