Bluffton sweeps day one with Hanover
Bluffton sweeps doubleheader with Hanover College
May 4, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team swept its first doubleheader of the season as the Beavers racked up 7-1 and 5-4 wins over the Hanover College Panthers on Friday, May 4. It marked the eighth straight season Bluffton has won its series with Hanover. With the victories, Bluffton moved to 19-20 overall (12-12 HCAC), tying the record for wins in a single season and eclipsing the previous mark of 11 HCAC wins. The Beavers look to break the record tomorrow when they wrap up the season on Senior Day. Hanover fell to 21-17 (11-12 HCAC).
Starting pitcher Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Toledo Christian) and the Beaver bats combined for a great performance in the first game on the day. The offense opened on the right foot when it opened up the bottom of the first with three runs. The scoring came from a plethora of extra bases knocks by bats at the top of the order. Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) led off with a double and came home on a single by Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic). Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwest) went deep with a double of his own before a three-bagger from Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) plated both runners for the early 3-0 advantage.
Bluffton did not slow down as the home team added three more in the third to go up 6-0. Stephenson started it off with an RBI double which scored Richardson. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, senior Greg Bergstedt (Napoleon/Patrick Henry) came through with a two-run single, giving the Beavers a commanding lead.
Bluffton tacked on another run in the fourth and that was more than enough for Barnes as he dominated on the day. He pitched 4.2 innings before giving up his first hit and cruised through the seven innings for the complete game. On the way to his fourth win of the season (4-3), he gave up only one run on five hits while punching out nine batters.
In the second contest of the day, the Beavers stayed hot with a three spot in bottom of the first just as they had in the first game. Niermann led off with a single and Stephenson moved him to second with one of his own. Broyles worked a walk to load the bases and Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) stepped up and drilled the third single of the inning to plate a pair. Greg Franks (Smithville) scored Broyles on a fielder's choice that gave Bluffton the 3-0 lead.
The Panthers, however, slowly chipped away at the Beaver lead. They answered by scoring in the next three innings. A run apiece in the second and third innings followed up with a pair in the top of the fourth gave Hanover their first lead against Bluffton. Halen Core (Reynoldsburg) came in and got the team out of trouble by getting the first batter he faced to ground into an inning-ending double play.
That was all the team needed as the offense responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take back the lead, 5-4. Once again, the scoring charge was headed by the top of the order. Niermann doubled to start and moved to third on a bunt single by Richardson. Stephenson hit a sac fly to bring home Niermann and was followed by an RBI single from Broyles for the lead.
After that, it was all pitching from both teams as no runs were scored in the next five innings. Stephenson came on in the top of the ninth to save it for the Beavers. The bullpen of Core, David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) and Stephenson combined to pitch 5.2 innings, surrendering only three hits and three walks while fanning four. Core moved to a perfect 6-0 on the year while Stephenson grabbed his second save.
On the day, Niermann paced the way for the offense by going 5-for-9 with five runs. Stephenson also had a solid day at the dish as he finished 3-for-6 with two RBI and three runs.
The Beavers return to Memorial Field on Saturday, May 5, for a nine-inning affair with Hanover to close out the season. The game is slated for 12 PM.