Wabash sweeps pair of one-run games
March 7, 2016
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Bluffton University baseball team dropped a tough pair of games at the hands of the Wabash College Little Giants on Monday, March 7. The Beavers rallied from a 9-2 deficit in the opener before falling 10-9 in 10 innings. Bluffton dropped the second contest, 1-0, in a pitcher’s duel under the lights. Bluffton fell to 1-3 on the season, while Wabash improved to 3-5.
Wabash roughed up starter Dyson Bowman (Coshocton) who gave up nine runs in the opening three-plus of innings of action, putting the Beavers in a 9-2 hole.
Bluffton wasn’t finished yet, however, as the Beavers scored four unearned runs in the sixth on RBI singles from Reid Maus (Hamilton/Badin) and Tanner Hamilton (Centerville) as Bluffton cut the deficit to 9-6.
The Beavers made more hay in the eighth, starting with a walk for Dennis Szalai (LaGrange/Keystone) and a steal of second. Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) would poke a base knock to send Szalai to third before Hamilton’s second RBI single of the game made it 9-7. Hickey would then score on a wild pitch to make it a one-run game. Blake Fox (Berne, Ind./South Adams) and Clayton Siders (Delaware/Worthington Christian) drew back-to-back walks before Jason Colliver (Beavercreek) moved everybody 90 feet with a hit by pitch to complete the comeback and tie the game at 9-9.
Both teams got their leadoff runners on base in the ninth, but neither was able to capitalize and the game went to extras. After the Beavers left one on in the 10th, Wabash got a walk-off infield single from David Oliger, handing the Little Giants a 10-9 game one victory.
After Bowman’s rough outing, freshman Dante D’Andrea (Westerville/North) came in with a superb performance, allowing no runs on four hits through the remainder of the scheduled nine innings. He gave up just one paltry run on five hits in 6.1 innings. Despite the superb outing, D’Andrea was the tough-luck loser for the Beavers. Freshman Raymond Richard (Taylor, Mich./John F. Kennedy) came in with one on and one out in the 10th and surrendered a walk and the walk-off single.
Clayton Siders led the way offensively for the Beavers, garnering three hits, including a second-inning RBI double. Tanner Hamilton added two hits with three runs batted in, while Luke Hickey also chipped in with two base knocks.
The nightcap featured a battle of pitchers, as Bluffton left-hander Corey Johnson (Waverly) and Wabash righty Brian Roberts were in the midst of a pitcher’s duel with each team going scoreless through the first five innings.
The lone run of the contest came in the he bottom of the sixth inning. It started when Cole Harlacher was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a ground out. Erich Lange was then able to finish the job with a base knock to left field that plated Harlacher to make it 1-0 Wabash.
The Beavers had their share of opportunities in the final innings to drive in the tying run, but Roberts would slam the door on every opportunity, including when Bluffton loaded the bases in the eighth, and that was enough to garner a 1-0 victory.
Brian Roberts threw a complete game shutout for the Little Giants. He gave up just four hits and walked two while striking out 12 Beavers and earning his first win of 2016.
Corey Johnson got stuck with a loss despite giving up just one run on six hits while striking out five hitters in his six innings of work. Austin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) relieved Johnson and gave up two hits while striking out three more in his three frames on the mound.
Bluffton’s biggest moment on offense came from Luke Hickey who garnered a lead-off triple in the fourth inning, as it was the lone extra base hit for the Beavers.
Bluffton will take a day off in Florida on Tuesday before a battle with the Moravian College Greyhounds on Wednesday, March 9. The game will be played in Port Charlotte and first pitch is set for around 3 p.m.