Bluffton 2, Manchester 1
Bluffton rebounds for 2-1 victory at Manchester
March 25, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information intern
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - In a pitcher's duel, senior Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Toledo Christian) tossed a complete game and led the Bluffton baseball team to a 2-1 victory over Manchester on Sunday, March 25. This marked the Beavers' first win in conference play as Bluffton improved to 7-10 overall (1-2 HCAC), while the Spartans dropped to 10-8 (2-1 HCAC).
Once again, it took no time for the Beavers to get on the scoreboard as the visitors put up a run in the top of the first inning. Junior standout Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) led off the game with a double and after a groundout by Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic), all-time hits leader Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) knocked in Niermann on a single, giving Bluffton the early lead.
The 1-0 score held all the way until the eighth inning when Bluffton tacked on another. After two outs to open the frame, Niermann went yard for the second game in a row and it wound up being a huge insurance run for the Beavers.
Although both pitchers were having terrific outings, Barnes was truly dominating. He threw 4.2 innings before allowing the Spartans first hit of the game and then was one out away from a two-hit, complete game shutout when Manchester's Corey Marchant hit a solo shot to pull the Spartans within one. However, Barnes was not rattled and the next batter flied out, sealing the 2-1 victory. The senior fanned six, allowed just three hits and walked one while improving to 2-1.
Niermann was the key for the Beaver offense as he led the team with two hits and scored both runs to back up Barnes' fantastic outing.
Bluffton returns home to play Denison on Tuesday, March 27. The game at Memorial Field is set for 4:15 p.m.