Bluffton splits for series victory at Hanover
March 28, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team split a doubleheader with the Hanover College Panthers on Saturday, Mar. 28. The Beavers won game one, 12-2, but fell in 10 innings in the nightcap, 10-9. Bluffton finished the series at 13-6 and 6-1 in HCAC play while Hanover is 8-8 and 4-4 in the conference.
The Beavers started the scoring in the third inning with a Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) RBI single and a Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) sacrifice fly to grab a 2-0 advantage. After a Roth sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, both pitchers locked it into cruise control. Bluffton senior Brad Schlabach (Fredericksburg/Hiland) threw seven scoreless innings before giving up two in the eighth when he exited for Corey Johnson (Waverly).
With the Beavers leading 3-2, Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) broke the game open with a bases-clearing triple to right center field which made it 6-2. Castro singled him in and the Beavers added two more unearned runs after a Hanover error. Then T.J. Devore (Grove City) hit a three-run shot for the 12-2 lead. Johnson shut the Panthers down in the ninth to seal the victory.
Schlabach improved to 3-0 on the season after giving up two runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings. He struck out three Panthers without a walk. Johnson then came on to earn his second save of the campaign, finishing with 1.2 innings of shutout baseball.
The Beavers got two hits from Castro, Devore, and Clayton Siders (Delaware/Worthington Christian) in the victory. Hickey and Devore’s ninth inning RBI's keyed Bluffton's late-game onslaught.
The Beaver two-run rally in the 10th inning was not enough as Hanover knocked Bluffton out of the ranks of the unbeaten in the HCAC with its 10-9 win in the series finale.
Hanover held a 5-1 advantage after two innings, but Castro and Devore both helped cut into the lead with RBI base knocks, making the score 5-3. Hanover would add one in the fifth, but Luke Hickey knotted the game up in the sixth with a three-run dinger to make it 6-6 after six innings. The home team plated a score to make it 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth, forcing Bluffton to rally again. Michael Alexander’s (Monroe) RBI double to right center field scored Jason Colliver (Beavercreek) and tied the game at seven, sending them to extras.
The Beavers jumped on top with two in the 10th as Siders scored on an error and Hickey trotted home on a wild pitch to take a 9-7 advantage. However, Bluffton pitching struggled to close it out, walking two runs in to tie the game after a Beaver error. Then Holloway hit a walkoff single to right field, giving Hanover the 10-9 victory.
Colin Marsh earned the win for the Panthers, giving up no earned runs on four hits in the final four innings of the contest. Austin Prosser (Galion) fell to 1-2 for the Beavers.
Siders and Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) both finished with three hits in game two, while Devore, Randolph and Hickey added two knocks apiece, including Hickey’s three-run homer.
The Beavers return to action on Tuesday, March 31 as they come back to Memorial Field to take on the Defiance College Yellow Jackets for the second straight week. First pitch is slated for 4:15 p.m. Come support your Beavers!