Bluffton secures HCAC series with split at Hanover
Bluffton takes series with Saturday split at Hanover
March 21, 2009
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team pounded 13 hits in a 12-8 victory over Hanover in Saturday's opener before the Panthers avoided the sweep with two ninth-inning runs in game two for a 4-3 come-from-behind win. Bluffton improved to 7-8 overall and 2-1 in the Heartland Conference, while Hanover fell to 7-11-1 and 1-2 in the HCAC.
Mike Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) singled home Greg Bergstedt (Napoleon/Patrick Henry) with two outs in the top of the second before Corey Conn (London) went yard with a three-run homer that picked up Kyle Trainer (Mechanicsburg) and Ramthun for a 4-0 Bluffton lead.
Two Bluffton errors and a wild pitch allowed the Panthers to cut the margin in half with two unearned scores in the top of the second before the Beavers pushed it back to a four-run lead with two runs in the third. Freshman sensation Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northeastern) ripped a one-out double to left center and Curtis Schroeder (Shelby) followed with a two-run dinger to left field for a 6-2 lead.
Bluffton opened up an 8-2 lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth. Cody McPherson (Northwood/Millbury/Lake) plated Ramthun with an RBI single in the fourth and Ramthun knocked in Schroeder with a base hit to left in the fifth.
Hanover made it 8-4 with two runs on four hits in the fifth before the sixth inning fireworks culminated with eight runs on the scoreboard. Bluffton scored all four of its sixth inning runs after the bases were empty with two outs. Stephen Torres (Lima/Juan Diego) and Stephenson both singled to right, putting runners at the corners. Schroeder was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for freshman Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) who singled to center for two RBI. Brett Howard's (Toledo/St. Francis) pinch hit double to left center plated Broyles and Schroeder for a 12-4 Bluffton advantage.
The Panthers made it a game with four runs on five hits in the home half of the sixth, but both teams went silently in the seventh as Bluffton held on for the 12-8 victory in game one.
Conn, Stephenson, McPherson and Schroeder all finished with two hits for the Beavers. Schroeder scored three runs while Conn drove in three with his blast. Ramthun, Schroeder, Broyles and Howard all drove in two runs.
Freshman Ryan Leugers (Botkins) moved to 2-1 on the season with the victory. He worked 4.2 innings, giving up four runs on four hits with just one walk. Sophomore Nathan Blanton (Cincinnati/LaSalle) worked 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to help Bluffton secure the series.
After three scoreless frames by both teams to start game two, Bluffton scored its only three runs of the contest in the top of the fourth. A Stephenson double down the left field line drove in McPherson who reached on a Hanover miscue with one out. Curtis Schroeder's RBI single sent Stephenson across the plate and two walks later, Trainer singled home Schroeder for a 3-0 lead.
Hanover climbed back into the game with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the seventh. The Panthers kept Bluffton off the basepaths over the next two frames before Hanover used a pair of free passes and two singles to complete the 4-3 come-from-behind victory and avoid the sweep by the Beavers on the opening weekend of HCAC play.
Matt Perkins (Convoy/Crestview) gave up just two runs on four hits in 6.2 innings on the mound. Corey Conn (London) was saddled with the loss after giving up two runs on one hit with three walks in 1.1 innings of relief. Schroeder was the lone Beaver with multiple safeties as Bluffton finished with only five hits in the loss.
Bluffton returns to action when the Beavers travel to rival Defiance College for a meeting with the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, March 24. The contest is slated for 4 p.m.