Bluffton 7, Manchester 6
April 12, 2015
By: Ryan Ebbeskotte, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team hosted the Manchester University Spartans on Sunday, April 12, to complete the three-game Heartland Conference series. The Beavers took the victory in walk-off fashion as they beat the Spartans, 7-6, when senior Michael Alexander (Monroe) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field in the home half of the ninth! Bluffton improves to 17-10 on the season and 10-5 in the HCAC, while Manchester stands at 14-10 and 7-7 in the HCAC.
It marks Bluffton's first-ever Heartland Conference series victory over the Spartans and the first time since 1986 that Bluffton has won two games against Manchester in the same season! The 10-5 HCAC mark has the Beavers tied with Earlham and Anderson for first place in the conference!
It was a slow start for Bluffton as Manchester took a 3-0 lead in the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, the Beavers would get on the scoreboard with a two-run bomb from JAKE TOWNLEY (Mansfield/Madison), his seventh of the season, after a single by MIKE CASTRO (Reynoldsburg) to bring the home team within a run at 3-2.
The score remained unchanged until the seventh inning when Manchester would extend its spread to 5-2, but Bluffton answered with four runs to take the lead. After two quick outs, Castro singled and Townley reached on an error. T.J. DEVORE (Grove City) laced an RBI single and was followed by a two-run double by Alexander. CADE RANDOLPH (Marengo/Highland) came up huge with an RBI double of his own for the 6-5 lead going into the eighth inning.
Manchester knotted it back up in the ninth inning, but the Beavers weren't planning to take the game into extra innings. Townley doubled to the gap in left center to lead off the inning. He exited for pinch runner Jason Colliver (Beavercreek) before a Devore single put runners on the corners. Alexander continued his torrid afternoon with a walk-off sacrifice fly to win the game, 7-6.
Alexander finished the game 4-of-4 with four doubles and three RBI. Townley went 2-of-5 with a homer, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Castro scored twice for the Beavers.
COREY JOHNSON (Waverly) picked up his third win for Bluffton to bring his record to 3-0 on the season. He tossed the last two innings, giving up an unearned run and working around a one-out bases loaded jam when he induced a double play ball to Mike Castro in the top of the ninth. JAYLEN VON SOSSAN (Ottawa-Glandorf) started and went four innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits with a strikeout. KEVIN EVERY (Zanesville/West Muskingum) allowed two runs on three hits with a pair of strikeouts in three innings on the hill.
Bluffton University travels to rival Defiance College on Tuesday, April 14, with the game scheduled for 4:15 PM.