Bluffton takes series from Rose-Hulman
Bluffton earns first-ever series victory over Rose-Hulman
March 30, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team split a conference doubleheader with Rose-Hulman on Saturday, falling in the opener 9-4 but rebounding for a 6-3 win in game two. The series victory over the Engineers marked the first time in school history that a Bluffton baseball team has accomplished the feat.
Game one starting pitcher Ben Roeschley (Graymont, Ill./Flanagan) got off to a bit of a rough start, allowing two runs in the top of the first inning. He settled in quite well after that though, keeping the Fightin' Engineers off the scoreboard in the next four frames while Bluffton tied it up. Roeschley (2-2) ran into more trouble in the sixth inning, allowing two more runs that would end up giving him the loss for the game. He finished with 5.1 innings pitched, allowed seven hits and four earned runs and struck out one.
Sophomore Brad Schlabach (Fredericksburg/Hiland) closed out the game for the Beavers, pitching the final 1.1 innings. He completely shut down Rose-Hulman to finish the game, allowing no hits and striking out three with a deadly curveball that fell off the table.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first, Bluffton responded with a score of its own. That run came courtesy of a based loaded hit by pitch for Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison). The scoring came to an abrupt end for the Beavers in the inning as the next batter lined into a double play.
The Beavers rallied to tie the game at two with an RBI single by Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) in the bottom of the fourth, but Rose-Hulman responded with two in the sixth and five in the eighth for a 9-2 lead.
A leadoff walk for Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) and a one-out single for Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) in the eighth put runners on first and second for Richardson, who knocked a single, scoring Castro on a fielding error by the Engineer center fielder. Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) followed with an RBI single, scoring Niermann, but it would be too little, too late, as Bluffton dropped the lidlifter by a 9-4 count.
Game two was a different story for the Beavers, as they never trailed in the contest. It all started with the starting pitcher for the second game, Todd Stover (Tipp City/Tippecanoe), who turned in another strong performance on the mound. He kept Rose-Hulman off the board in the first four innings, allowing Bluffton to build a lead. In the innings where the Engineers were able to get runners on base, Stover minimized the damage, allowing just two runs during his time on the hill. Stover (0-1) did not get the decision in the win, but still tossed 6.1 superb innings, scattering six hits and two earned runs while striking out three.
Richardson (2-0), who started the game in center field for the Beavers, came on in relief and picked up the win. Despite struggling with control at times and walking five batters, he was still able to keep Rose-Hulman at bay during his time on the mound. Richardson allowed one run on three hits in 2.2 innings pitched and he worked out of trouble by fanning five batters.
The game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the third when Bluffton struck first. The lone run in the inning for the Beavers came courtesy of an RBI single by Greg Franks (Smithville).
Bluffton added another run in the bottom of the fourth, making the score 2-0. Jeff Roth (Bellevue) laced an RBI single to score T.J. Devore (Grove City) for the second run of the game.
Rose-Hulman battled back to tie the game at two in the top of the seventh, but Bluffton answered quickly, and in a big way. The inning opened with a double for Roth and he moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale). Niermann then came through with a double to left center, scoring Roth. Richardson's single advanced Niermann to third, setting up Bluffton for what would be the turning point in the game. Franks fouled off five straight pitches before crushing a three-run homer over the left field fence, pushing the Bluffton lead to four (6-2), one that they would not let go of for the remainder of the game.
Franks led the way for the Beaver offense, collecting six hits in the doubleheader, including his three-run blast to left field which clinched the victory for Bluffton. Niermann had five hits on the day and Richardson finished with three.
With the series win for Bluffton, the Beavers improved to 11-7 on the year with a 3-3 mark in the Heartland Conference. Rose-Hulman moved to 6-11 overall and 3-2 in the HCAC. After taking Sunday off for Easter, Bluffton is back in action on Monday, April 1, when the Beavers take on Oberlin College in a non-conference doubleheader at home. Game one of the twinbill is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in Bluffton.