Beavers sweep MSJ on Senior Day
April 26, 2014
By: Blade Tackett, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Solid pitching and timely scoring propelled Bluffton to two wins over the Mount St. Joseph Lions Saturday, April 26, at Memorial Field. Bluffton improved to 20-16 overall and 12-10 in the HCAC while MSJ fell to 12-21-1 overall and 7-15 in the HCAC. The Beavers 20 wins are just one shy of the school mark set last year and Bluffton's 12 conference wins equaled 2012 and 2013 for the most-ever victories in Heartland Conference play.
A three-run second inning was enough for Bluffton to get the win in the first game Saturday. A two-out rally sparked by an RBI single from senior Christian Vail (Lucas) put the Beavers on the board. Two more base hits from junior Jeff Roth (Bellevue) and senior David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) gave Bluffton a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the third.
Senior ace Ben Roeschley (Graymont, Ill./Flanagan) ended his career at Memorial Field with a dandy outing. Roeschley went eight innings, giving up only three paltry hits and one unearned run in the sixth with seven strikeouts and two walks. David Ianiro set the visitors down in order in the ninth for his seventh save of the year, extending his single season and career mark at Bluffton. Roeschley earned the win, moving to 4-1 on the season following his school-record 53rd appearance on the mound.
The Beavers had production throughout the lineup while their defense only committed one error in the lidlifter. Ianiro, Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer), Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian), Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg), Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln), Clayton Siders (Delaware/Worthington Christian) and Vail all pitched in with a hit.
The second game of the doubleheader was much of the same. Freshman Jaylen Von Sossan (Ottawa/Ottawa/Glandorf) got the start and pitched three innings, recording a strikeout while limiting the Mount to two hits and one run. Von Sossan wriggled out of trouble in the first frame when he had back-to-back walks eliminated on Bluffton's first triple play in recent memory. A line shot to Luke Hickey with both runners on the move ended the inning when he fired it to Castro before Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) collected Castro's rocket for one of the rarest plays in baseball.
Another highlight from the second game was freshman pitcher Dyson Bowman's (Coschocton) work in middle relief. Bowman threw 4.2 innings, recording an impressive 10 strikeouts with four walks. Bowman earned the win, improving to 5-3 on the season. Bluffton's late-inning workhorse David Ianiro came in to finish the game once again. He got the Beavers out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth and recorded his eighth save of the year in the ninth.
MSJ struck first in the second inning. A sacrifice fly from Matt Hoffman scored Ronald Cotton, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead. An inning later, senior David Ianiro roped one over the right field fence, tying the game at 1-1.
The Beavers scored two runs in the fifth off of a failed pickoff attempt and an RBI-single from junior T.J. DeVore (Grove City). An RBI following a single from Tim Webb made it 4-1 in the sixth. An inning later, freshman Clayton Siders reached on a dropped popup to shortstop, then scored the following at bat on a Christian Vail bunt down the third base line. Siders advanced to second on the bunt then took off for third when MSJ did not cover. A throwing error back to third allowed Siders to cross the dish with a crucial insurance run. Bluffton went into the eighth inning with a 5-1 lead.
Bowman retired the first two batters in the eighth, looking to cruise into the ninth inning. However, a double and a couple walked batters later and MSJ was on the verge a comeback. Senior David Ianiro spoiled their attempt as he came in with the bases juiced and struck out Casey Wagner looking to get the Beavers out of the jam.
Ianiro struck out the first batter in the ninth before giving up a single to Ronald Cotton. One pitch later, Rob Shaw lined out to freshman Luke Hickey at second base. Cotton took off on the hit and set up an easy double play for Hickey to end the game with the Beavers on the fun end of a 5-3 final.
Webb capped off his Senior day with a 3-of-4 performance at the plate that included one run and an RBI. Ianiro went 2-of-3 with two runs scored.
Bluffton's sixth consecutive series victory of the season has the Beavers in position to earn their first-ever Heartland Conference tournament berth. Franklin College is one game ahead of Bluffton heading into next weekend's showdown with the Grizzlies. The squad that can secure at least two victories will earn a spot in the tournament and likely meet Manchester University the following Thursday in North Manchester, Ind. The Beavers kick off the series with the Grizzlies at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 2, in Franklin, Ind.