Bluffton splits with Indiana Tech
Beavers pick up a split with Indiana Tech in Coach Bruder's first games at the helm
By: Rustin Pickett, sports information assistant
March 17, 2007
The Bluffton University softball team used a sixth-inning Gretchen Handley (Ashland/Ashland) grand slam to deliver Coach Heather Bruder a victory in her first game at the helm of the Beavers on Friday, March 16, 2007. Bluffton came back after being down four runs in the first game to knock off the Warriors, 8-7. In the nightcap, the Beavers seventh-inning rally fell just short as Indiana Tech took game two by a final count of 3-2. Bluffton stands 1-1 while the NAIA Warriors move to 7-7 on the season.
Game One - Bluffton 8, Indiana Tech 7
The Warriors jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the top half of the first inning. With one out and Mallory Harris at second base, the Warriors became very patient at the plate as back-to-back walks were drawn by Jessica Williams and Melanie Crandall. Williams and Harris both crossed the plate following a Bluffton error making the score 2-0. An infield groundout allowed Crandall to cross the plate for a 3-0 Tech lead. A wild pitch put the Warriors up, 4-0, after just one frame.
The Beavers were able to scratch out one run in the bottom of the first when Jayme Marbaugh (Ohio City/Parkway) singled and scored following a Jenna Mayer (Lima/Shawnee) double to right center.
Sophomore Kellie Kenney (Toledo/Emmanuel Baptist)settled in and kept the Warriors bats silent as the Beavers marched on with their comeback. A two-run fifth inning pulled Bluffton to within a single run. In the fifth, the Beavers loaded the bases for Marbaugh who drew a walk which plated Laura Brown (Sullivan/Black River), who had also drawn a free pass. A Mayer sacrifice fly plated Katie Ammons (Findlay/Findlay) and made the score 4-3 after five innings.
After a shutdown top of the sixth by Kenney, the Beavers' bats came alive with two huge hits. With one out and the bases empty, senior shortstop Carrie Weisbecker (Okeana/Ross) launched a rocket over the left field wall to tie the game at four, but that turned out to be just the start of the fireworks. One out later, Kenney drew a base on balls, Brown reached on an error and Ammons drew a walk of her own to load the bases. With the board showing a full count and two outs, sophomore outfielder Gretchen Handley zoned in and parked what would be the game-winning grand slam over the centerfield wall.
The Warriors gave Bluffton a scare in the top of the seventh, but it wasn't enough as the Beavers held on for the dramatic come-from-behind 8-7 victory in the 2007 season opener.
Game Two - Indiana Tech 3, Bluffton 2
Both pitchers, Jessica Williams of Indiana Tech and Brooke Babcock (Findlay/Findlay) of Bluffton, proved to be stingy on the mound as they kept the game scoreless for the first three innings of the nightcap. Once again, the Warriors struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to an April Alexander double. Her two-bagger to center field brought in Sonya Benavides, who drew a walk and Erica McBride, who reached on a fielder's choice.
In the top half of the fifth inning, the Beavers were able to steal one run back. Jayme Marbaugh squeezed a single past the shortstop which allowed her to dance on the basepaths to bait an errant toss from the catcher, moving to third on the throw. The first game's hero, Gretchen Handley, who had singled prior to the Marbaugh dribbler, scored from second to make the score 2-1 in favor of Tech.
In the top of the seventh, the Beavers found themselves down by a pair of runs, 3-1, after the Warriors tacked on an insurance score in the bottom of the sixth inning. A solo shot by Mayer ignited the crowd, but Williams got Babcock to ground out to third with runners on first and second, sealing the 3-2 victory and series split for the Warriors.
Marbaugh led the Beavers at the plate, going 4-of-6 with a pair of doubles and one RBI. Babcock, Mayer and Handley all finished with three hits, while Handley and Mayer knocked in four and three runs, respectively. Handley, Ammons and Brown all scored two runs for the Beavers. Kellie Kenney picked up the victory in game one while Brooke Babcock took the tough 3-2 loss in the second contest.
Bluffton returns to action on Tuesday, March 20, 2007, when it costs Case Reserve for a 3 p.m. doubleheader.