Bluffton 5, Defiance 3
March 31, 2015
By: Ryan Ebbeskotte, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team fell behind early against the Defiance College Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, March 31, but prevailed thanks to a three-run second inning. Bluffton improved to 14-6 on the season and a conference-best 7-1 in the HCAC, while Defiance is now 8-8 overall and 3-5 in the HCAC following the 5-3 Beaver victory.
Defiance jumped out quickly thanks to its hot bats, scoring two runs on four consecutive hits in the top half of the first inning. The Beavers would respond in the bottom of the second inning with three runs of their own on three hits.
JAKE TOWNLEY (MansfieldMadison) led off the inning with a double to the right field wall before an infield single by MICHAEL ALEXANDER (Monroe). A walk to T.J. DEVORE (Grove City) loaded the sacks. Townley scored on a CADE RANDOLPH (Marengo/Highland) sacrifice fly and Alexander crossed the plate thanks to a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt down the first base line by JEFF ROTH (Bellevue). CLAYTON SIDERS (Delaware/Worthington Christian) finished the inning with an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead.
Bluffton added another run in the fifth inning thanks to a Defiance throwing error which allowed MIKE CASTRO (Reynoldsburg) to score and stretch the lead to 4-2. Roth singled in the sixth, moved to third on consecutive passed balls and scurried home after a wild pitch, extending the lead to 5-2.
The Beavers would surrender a meaningless run in the ninth courtesy of two passed balls sandwiched around a balk, but the home team held on for a 5-3 victory over their rivals. It was Bluffton's second win over the Jackets in seven days and it assured the Beavers of their third straight series victory to start the HCAC campaign.
COREY JOHNSON (Waverly) went seven innings strong with six strikeouts for the Beavers and he picked up his first win on the season (1-0). TAYLOR GAMBRELL (Bowling Green) came on in the eighth and nailed down his conference-best fourth save of the season. Jacob Green fell to 1-1 on the year for the Yellow Jackets.
Townley continued to wield a hot bat, going 3-of-4 with a run. Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) went 2-of-4, while Roth was 1-of-2 with a run, an RBI and two sacrifice bunts.
Bluffton travels to Cincinnati to start a three-game series with Mount St Joseph on Friday, April 4. Good Friday will see the Beavers playing a doubleheader with the first contest slated for 2 p.m.