Bluffton ends season 11-10 in HCAC to set BC single-season conference win total recordBy Tim Stried, SID
May 6, 2002
The Bluffton College baseball team won two of three games from Defiance College over the weekend to end the 2002 season with an 11-10 record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, good for a fifth place finish.
Bluffton's 11 conference wins this season are the most in school history, surpassing the previous record of 10 set by the 1973 squad, which finished second in the Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference with a 10-4 league record. That team, coached by Roger Bixel, finished with an 18-7 mark overall and qualified for the NAIA District 22 tournament.
A scenario existed, but did not become a reality, that would have sent BC to the HCAC tournament had the Beavers swept the Yellow Jackets. Franklin set an HCAC record with 17 regular season league victories this season and will host the HCAC tournament this weekend. BC finished just two games back of the fourth and final spot in the tourney.
Bluffton ends the season with an overall record of 14-22, marking the sixth straight season that the Beavers have won more than a dozen games as head coach Greg Brooks' saw his school-record win total grow to 266.
In their final home game of the season, Bluffton topped Defiance 10-4 on Friday in the first game of that series as seniors Brad Buckingham, Dustin Kreis, Todd Pickthorn and Ben Schwab went out winners in their final game at Sears Field. Sophomore Dan Crider was 4-for-4 with three RBI's and Pickthorn was 3-for-4 with two RBI's, while junior Wes Hall picked up his sixth win of the season, which ties him for second in single-season pitching wins at BC.
Sophomore Bob Heitkamp pitched a three-hit shutout for his fifth win of the season and sophomore Jim Dwenger's solo homerun in the top of the sixth inning proved to be the game-winner as the Beavers won the first game of a double-header at Defiance 1-0 on Saturday. Dwenger and Crider both collected two base hits and sophomore Kyle Alberson doubled.
Defiance took the third game of the series, 3-1, despite another solid pitching performance from sophomore Josh Underwood and two base hits from Pickthorn, who was 7-for-12 from the plate in the series.
Offensive leaders this season included Dwenger (.398, 18 RBI), Buckingham (.382, 21 RBI), Alberson (.380, 34 RBI, 12 2b) and Pickthorn (.359, 19 RBI). Buckingham and Pickthorn both cranked out 47 base hits this season, which are tied for the third-highest single-season total in school history.
Special to: The Bluffton News