Bluffton wraps up 6-3 week in Florida
March 10, 2017
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - The Bluffton University baseball team capped off an exciting week at the Gene Cusic Classic with a 6-3 mark following a split on the final day in Florida. Bluffton held off Moravian 17-14 in a four-hour marathon before dropping a 19-9 decision to Wheaton College.
Bluffton and Moravian combined for 17 runs through the first three innings with the Beavers holding a tenuous 10-7 advantage heading to the fourth frame. After each team added a score in the fourth, Bluffton tried to get some separation with three tallies in the sixth, opening up a 14-9 spread with three innings to play.
Tanner Hodges (Taylor, Mich./John F. Kennedy) ripped a three-run double in the top of the eighth for what proved to be critical insurance tallies when Moravian launched a grand slam in the home half, pulling within 17-14 heading to the ninth. The Grayhounds had the tying run at the plate with one out in the final frame but Taylor Gambrell (Bowling Green) closed it out for his second save of the season.
Brantley Curnutte (Hilliard/Davidson) struck out five in 3.2 innings of relief for his first victory of the season. Clayton Siders (Delaware/Worthington Christian) and Chase Lawniczak (Toledo/Whitmer) paced the Beaver offense with three hits apiece. Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) and Hodges both drove in three runs for the victors, while Hickey, Siders and Austin Prosser (Galion) all crossed the dish three times.
Bluffton fell behind 6-0 in the first inning of game two but rebounded with three runs in the bottom half and two more in the second to pull within one at 6-5 heading to the third. However, a nine-spot by the Cyclones in the fourth proved too much to overcome. The Beavers made a game of it with four in the sixth but Wheaton added two more in the ninth for a 19-9 victory in Bluffton's Florida finale.
Luke Hickey made some noise with a 4-of-6 effort and three runs scored. Blake Fox drove in three, while Clayton Siders and Austin Prosser scored two runs apiece. Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) and Ryan Golden (Findlay) chipped in with two hits each. Austin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) took the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in three innings of work. He struck out five and walked two
Bluffton will jump back into action on Tuesday, March 14, when the Beavers make the short trip to Ada for a meeting with local rival Ohio Northern. The first pitch is slated for 4 p.m.