Bluffton 12, Earlham 3
April 21, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team earned a key HCAC victory over the Earlham College Quakers by a score of 12-3 on Tuesday, April 21. The Beavers took advantage of a big starting performance from sophomore Corey Johnson (Waverly), who improved to 4-1 on the season after throwing 7.2 innings. The win gives the Beavers a half-game lead in the conference over Rose-Hulman at 13-7 and 20-13 overall. Earlham slipped to a tie for fourth at 11-8 in the HCAC and 22-9 on the season. The 13 Heartland Conference wins equals the 2014 squad for the most ever by a Bluffton baseball team and it is the third straight season that the Beavers have eclipsed 20 victories!
After the Quakers took a 2-1 lead in one inning, Bluffton responded with four runs in the second inning courtesy of a grand slam from senior Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) for a 5-2 advantage! Castro made Quaker ace Matt Brankle pay dearly for two hit batters and a walk that were all issued with nobody on and two outs. The Beavers made it 7-2 in the fourth inning and Johnson continued to cruise, throwing six straight scoreless frames as Bluffton kept the 7-2 lead through seven.
Castro would add another RBI with a double in the eighth and Jeff Roth (Bellevue) stole home as part of a double steal, stretching the lead to 9-2. Earlham scored once in the eighth, chasing Johnson in favor of Kevin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum). Bluffton responded with three more insurance runs in the ninth, including an RBI single from Roth and then two unearned tallies for the 12-3 spread.
Johnson improved to 4-1 on the year, giving up three runs on nine hits in 7.2 innings of work, while striking out five Quakers. The southpaw gave the Beavers their third straight conference start of at least seven innings, allowing the bullpen a much-needed reprieve heading into the Rose-Hulman series this weekend. Every came in and threw 1.1 innings of no-hit baseball, with his only base runner being a hit batter. Matt Brankle suffered the loss for Earlham, falling to 3-4 on the year and giving up six earned on eight hits.
Castro finished his monster game 4-for-5 with six RBI, including the second inning grand salami. Jake Townley also went 3-for-4 on the contest, while fellow seniors T.J. Devore (Grove City) and Michael Alexander (Monroe) added two hits apiece.
Bluffton puts first place in the HCAC on the line as they begin a crucial three-game series with the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin’ Engineers on Saturday, April 25. They will play a doubleheader at 12 p.m. at Memorial Field. Come support your Beavers!