John Carroll 13, Bluffton 5
March 2, 2014
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - The Bluffton University baseball team led John Carroll 4-1 after four innings and the Beavers were knotted with two outs in the eighth before the Crusaders blew open the game with four tallies in the eighth and five more in the ninth en route to a 13-5 victory on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Bluffton fell to 0-1 with its loss in the season opener, while JCU evened its record at 2-2.
The Crusaders went up 1-0 thanks to three hits in the fourth frame before an inning-ending double play fired up the home team on the scoreboard. Mike Castro's (Reynoldsburg) base hit to right plated Cade Randolph (Marengo/Highland) and Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) for a 2-1 Bluffton lead in the bottom half of the inning. Christian Vail (Lucas) picked up where he left off last season with a run-scoring triple down the right field line and he crossed the dish when Jeff Roth (Bellevue) reached on a John Carroll error, making the score 4-1.
Bluffton erased JCU's leadoff hitter on a double play in the fifth, but a Beaver miscue led to three unearned runs by the Crusaders with two down. The score remained 4-4 until the top of the eighth when John Carroll put together another two out rally that made the score 8-4 when the dust settled. Five more runs for JCU in the ninth sealed the outcome despite a Michael Alexander (Monroe) sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame.
Senior Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) was solid in the season opener, limiting John Carroll to five runs, just one earned, on nine hits in seven-plus innings of work. He walked two and struck out one. Vail led the Bluffton offense with three hits and two runs scored, while Castro went 2-of-4 with two RBI and one run scored.
The Beavers will be in Fort Myers for a 4 p.m. matchup with Emerson on Monday, March 3, when Bluffton looks to put its first notch in the win column.