Bluffton splits Saturday games with Manchester
April 11, 2015
By: Ryan Ebbeskotte, sports information assistant
Bluffton, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team hosted Manchester University for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 11, kicking off the three-game weekend series. The Beavers fell to the Spartans in game one, 13-12, but recovered quickly to even it up following the second game, 14-4. Bluffton moved to 16-10 on the season and 9-5 in the Heartland Conference, while Manchester stands at 14-9 and 7-6 in the HCAC.
In the lidlifter, Bluffton started the game off hot with four runs in the first inning thanks to a two-RBI double from senior MIKE CASTRO (Reynoldsburg). LUKE HICKEY (Toledo/Whitmer) scored on a wild pitch and JAKE TOWNLEY (Mansfield/Madison) knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 to end the inning.
The Beavers would add another run in the second inning after CLAYTON SIDERS (Delaware/Worthington Christian) doubled and JEFF ROTH (Bellevue) singled for the 5-0 spread. In the third, TJ DEVORE (Grove City) singled and rounded the bases on a double by Townley, stretching the lead to 6-0 after three innings.
Bluffton would surrender two runs in the top of the fourth inning, but collected five of their own after the bases were loaded and Castro would walk to bring in another run. Devore picked up an RBI with his sacrifice fly before Townley crushed a three-run home run to end the inning at 11-2.
The Spartans fought back over the next couple innings and took the lead, 12-11, after scoring seven runs in the top of the eighth inning. The Beavers would tie the game in the bottom of the eighth with a RBI single by Roth. However, the Spartans would go on to win the game after scoring in the top of the ninth and holding Bluffton scoreless in the home half of the frame for the improbable 13-12 victory.
AUSTIN PROSSER (Galion) took the loss, falling to 1-4 on the season. NATE SIMONDS (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) started the game for the Beavers and went 6.2 innings with five strikeouts, giving up just two earned runs.
Roth reacted favorably to his ascension to the leadoff spot, going 4-of-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Hickey went 3-of-5 with two runs scored. Townley drove in a game-high five runs while Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) and Castro both scored twice.
Bluffton used the same formula early in game two with three runs in the first inning. TYLER SPALDING reached on a single, Hickey got on after being hit by a pitch and Castro singled to load the bases. Spalding crossed the dish thanks to a fielding error and Hickey scored on a wild pitch. Devore added another run with a sacrifice fly to end the inning on top, 3-0.
The Beavers added three more runs in the second. Siders singled to start the inning and would score after an RBI knock by Hickey. Townley drove home two runs with a single, pushing the score to 6-0 after two innings.
Manchester pulled closer with two runs in the top of the third and Bluffton responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Spalding to send it to the fourth at 7-2.
After the Spartans scored once in the fourth, Roth singled home Michael Alexander (Monroe) in the fifth to make it 8-3 after five innings. Two runs in the sixth came after Castro and Townley singled to start the inning. CADE RANDULPH (Marengo/Highland) ripped a crucial two-out, two-bagger to bring them both home for the 10-3 advantage.
Manchester added one run in the seventh, but the Beavers answered with three of their own. Three walks loaded the bases, and two errors helped the home team to the first two runs. Devore would also come through for Bluffton with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 10-4.
Castro provided Bluffton with another run following an RBI single which made it 14-4 and that would be the final score after the defense held the visitors scoreless in the ninth.
In game two, BRAD SCHLABACH (Hiland) pitched eight strong innings with six strikeouts, giving up only four runs, all earned, to come away with a victory to improve to 4-0 on the season.
Castro went 4-of-5 with three runs scored in game two. Hickey crossed the dish four times despite going 1-of-4 at the plate. Townley drove in three runs, giving him eight RBI for the day. Devore and Randolph both finished with two RBI in the victory.
Bluffton University hosts Manchester for the final game of the series on Sunday, April 12, with the contest scheduled for 12 PM.