Bluffton drops three games to Manchester to end 2003 seasonBy Scott Van Eman, sports information intern
May 5, 2003
|Special to: The Bluffton News (May 8), Alumni e-newsletter (May 6), but you read it here first.
The Bluffton College baseball team lost three games last weekend to Manchester College drawing the 2003 season to a close. Bluffton finished the season at 8-25 overall and 2-19 in the Heartland Conference.
The three game series kicked off with a nine inning game held at Sears Field last Friday. Before the game Bluffton held a 4-5 record at home including two wins at home the previous week. The game marked the last home game of the season for the Beavers. Bluffton allowed only one run through the first three innings of play but a five run fourth inning by Manchester put the game out of reach for the Beavers. Senior Wes Hall pitched all nine innings for the Beavers, allowing six earned runs and collecting seven strikeouts.
Bluffton traveled to Manchester, Saturday for the final two games of the 2003 season. Unfortunately, the first game of the doubleheader played out much like the first game of the three game series. Manchester again struck first scoring the first run of the game in the third inning. The fourth inning proved to again be a bear for the Beavers as Manchester scored seven runs on seven hits. Manchester would go on to score one more run in the fifth inning to beat the Beavers by a score of 9-0. Freshman Randy Miller pitched the last 2.2 innings for the Beavers and allowed one run on four hits and struck out one.
Bluffton finally came out of their shell in the second game of the doubleheader as junior Jim Dwenger provided the Beavers with some much needed offense in the form of a two-run homerun in the third inning. The Beavers held the lead into the sixth much due to the pitching performance of junior Josh Underwood., who held the potent Spartan offense without a run going into the sixth inning. But Manchester battled their way back into the game scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game. A scoreless seventh inning by both teams sent the game into extra innings. The top of the eighth inning remained much the same as the Beavers were unable to pose a scoring threat. Manchester quickly capitalized on this, getting their first two batters of the eighth inning on and then knocking in the winning run with a base hit.
Bluffton was led offensively this season by junior Kyle Alberson, who led the team in batting average (.404), slugging percentage (.843), on base percentage (.500), hits (36), runs scored (25), homeruns (10), RBI's (30) and walks (14). Other leaders included junior Bob Heitkamp (.361, 3 homeruns, 8 doubles, 17 RBI's) and senior Wes Hall (.293, 14 runs scored, 4 doubles, 10 RBI's). Freshman Randy Miller's 6.03 ERA led Bluffton's pitching staff this season, while freshman Steve Hastings and Hall each provided three wins. Hall also led the Beavers in innings pitched (55.0) and strikeouts (34) while Underwood closely followed with 53.2 innings pitched and 30 strikeouts.
Heartland Conference awards will be posted next week following the HCAC tournament.