Niermann becomes all-time hits leader at Bluffton
Franklin outduels Bluffton to pick up series win over Beavers
April 6, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - It was a record-setting day for the Bluffton University baseball team as the career hits and single-game strikeouts records fell, but the Beavers only managed to split a conference doubleheader with Franklin College on Saturday, April 6. Bluffton rallied in the middle innings of game one to win 6-3, but gave up a lead late in game two and fell 3-2.
Senior Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) made history leading off the bottom of the third inning of game one, roping a single to center for the 216th of his career, passing 2012 graduate Tyler Stephenson for the most in Bluffton University history. Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) followed up the milestone hit with a single of his own, advancing Niermann to second. Niermann came around to score on an RBI single by Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian), while Richardson crossed the plate on an RBI fielder's choice by Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) which tied the game up at two.
Bluffton would rally again in the fourth inning, gaining a lead that they never surrendered. That inning was highlighted by a two-run Richardson triple which scored Jeff Roth (Bellevue) and Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg).
After allowing Franklin to cut the lead to just one, Bluffton added two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh. Those two tallies came courtesy of a two-RBI single by Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale), making the score 6-3, which turned out to be the final count.
The other record-breaking performance on the day was turned in by junior hurler Ben Roeschley (Graymont, Ill./Flanagan). After Franklin took an early 2-0 lead on a two-run homer in the first inning, he dominated the rest of the way. Roeschley (3-2) mixed up pitches well and baffled the Grizzlies hitters, striking out 13 batters which broke the previous school record of 12, held by 2012 graduate Kelly Barnes who set the mark back in 2010. Roeschley finished with a nine-inning complete game, scattering six hits and three earned runs to go along with the 13 punch-outs.
Game two would turn out to be a pitcher's duel on both sides with the starters turning in magnificent performances. Todd Stover (Tipp City/Tippecanoe) had yet another strong conference start, keeping the Grizzlies at bay throughout the game. He allowed just one run in the fourth inning and kept Franklin off the board throughout the rest of his time on the mound. Stover (0-1), who finished the game with seven innings pitched, allowed only five hits and one run while fanning four, but was yet again unable to get his first win of the season thanks to an eighth-inning rally by Franklin.
Richardson (2-1) came on in relief for the Beavers and took the loss, going two innings and allowing two hits and two earned runs while striking out four.
After falling behind 1-0 after the fourth inning, Bluffton tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single by Roth.
The Beavers took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when they scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) who entered the game as a pinch hitter. That would be the last time Bluffton would score in the game as they gave up the lead in the top of the eighth and couldn't come through in the clutch, leaving the bases loaded in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Niermann led the Bluffton offensive attack on the day, tallying six hits in the doubleheader which raised his career total to 220. Franks and Roth added three hits apiece for the Beavers.
Following the split, Bluffton went to 13-11 on the season with a 4-6 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Franklin moved to 11-12 on the year and 4-6 in the HCAC. Bluffton will be back in action on Monday, April 8, when the Beavers travel to Ada to take on non-conference opponent and local rival Ohio Northern. That game is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.