Bluffton 5, Defiance 3
May 3, 2017
BLUFFTON, Ohio - It was better late than never when the Bluffton University baseball team welcomed Defiance College for the final 2017 meeting between the Northwest Ohio rivals. Wet field conditions pushed the Tuesday contest to Wednesday, May 3, and the Beavers broke the 3-3 tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 5-3 victory.
Brantley Curnutte (Hilliard/Davidson) issued two walks and surrendered a two-run shot in the top of the first, but the sophomore was unfazed as he piled up six scoreless frames and handed off a 3-2 Bluffton lead when the righty exited after inning seven.
Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) picked up Clayton Siders (Delaware/Worthington Christian) with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the first before two tallies in the third made it 3-2 in favor of the good guys. Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) singled home Gregory and Blake Fox (Berne, Ind./South Adams) followed with a run-scoring double that sent Hickey across the dish.
A leadoff walk to Defiance in the eighth set up a hit and run that put Jackets on the corners. Harrington tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center, but Bluffton answered right back with two scores in the home half. Hickey singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Fox and made it 4-3 when Ryan Golden's (Findlay) single to center got the run home. Moving over to shortstop after a freshman campaign spent at the hot corner, Chase Lawniczak (Toledo/Whitmer) added an insurance run when his base knock picked up pinch runner Brayden Sautter (Ada) for the 5-3 final.
Although Curnutte did not figure in the final decision, he was outstanding in his seven-inning quality start. Curnutte allowed two runs on just three hits with four strikeouts. Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) improved to 2-0 after two innings of one-run relief.
Lawniczak went 3-of-4 with an RBI. Gregory and Hickey notched two hits apiece with Hickey scoring two runs for the victors.
Bluffton will be back at Memorial Field for its final series on Saturday, May 6. The first contest with Transylvania University on Senior Day is slated for 1 p.m.