Bluffton opens series with sweep of Hanover
April 5, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team took advantage of its extra day of preparation, limiting Hanover College to just two runs in 18 innings as the Beavers opened the series with a pair of victories over the visiting Panthers. Bluffton pitched a 9-0 shutout in the opener and Ben Roeschley (Graymont Ill./Flanagan) followed suit with a complete-game 5-2 win on a chilly Saturday, April 5, 2014. The Beavers improved to 10-11 overall and 3-6 in the Heartland Conference with their third straight victory, while Hanover slipped to 7-12 and 3-6 in the HCAC.
Michael Alexander (Monroe) and Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) sandwiched singles around a David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the first, putting Bluffton up 1-0. Webb added an RBI base knock in the third when he followed Luke Hickey's (Toledo/Whitmer) leadoff triple with his second hit of the game.
The home team broke it open two frames later when Hickey singled home Jeff Roth (Bellevue) and Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) delivered a run-scoring two-bagger. Ianiro also crossed the dish thanks to a Hanover error.
Hickey and Webb were in on the action again when they came up in the seventh inning. Hickey opened with a single and he crossed the dish a batter later when Webb spanked a double. Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) picked up Webb with a base hit for a 7-0 spread.
A sacrifice fly by Hickey and another Castro RBI made the final score 9-0 when Bluffton added a pair of tallies in the bottom of the eighth. Freshman Dyson Bowman (Coshocton) worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to keep the shutout intact as the Beavers took game one from Hanover.
Webb was a sterling 4-of-5 with three RBI to lead the Bluffton offense. Hickey blasted away to a 3-of-4 game with two RBI and three runs scored. Alexander added three hits, while he and Ianiro both scored two times. Castro drove in two runs.
Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) improved to 2-4 on the season after throwing seven shutout innings. He allowed five hits and walked four while striking out three on 98 total pitches. Bowman fanned two and gave up two hits in two scoreless frames.
A two-out no runners on rally in the home half of the first gave game-two starter Ben Roeschley all the support he would need as the standout hurler went back to the mound in inning two with a 4-0 cushion. Following back-to-back singles by Hickey and Webb, Mike Castro and Jake Townley continued the hit parade with a double and triple, respectively. Cade Randolph (Marengo/Highland) added to the barrage with an RBI single that picked up Townley for the 4-0 lead.
Hanover scored its first run of the day in the second, but Randolph crossed the dish in the fourth after leading off the inning with a double.
The visitors made it 5-2 and had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth, but Roeschley retired 11 of the next 12 batters to secure the series victory by the Beavers, their first of the season.
Castro and Randolph both smacked two hits in the win, while Townley drove in two runs. Roeschley tossed his second complete game, allowing two runs, just one earned, on eight hits, while seeing his ERA drop to 1.91 this season. He fanned six and issued just two free passes.
Bluffton will look to wrap up the sweep when the Beavers host Hanover on Sunday, April 6. The first pitch is slated for 12 p.m. at Memorial Field.