Beavers secure berth in HCAC tourney with sweep of Franklin
April 30, 2011
By: Mallory Kemper, sports information assistant
Game 1 Box Score I Game 2 Box Score
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team hosted Franklin College on
Saturday, April 30, in a doubleheader for their last regular season games of 2011.
The Beavers were on fire in both games on the day, winning 9-1 in six innings and
10-3 to improve their record to 19-14 overall and 11-5 in the Heartland Conference.
Franklin fell to 2-12 in the HCAC and 7-23 on the season. Bluffton now waits to see
whether the Beavers will enter next weekend's HCAC tournament as the #2, #3 or the
#4 seed. It marks the fifth consecutive season that the Beavers have earned a berth
in the four-team Heartland Conference tourney.
Bluffton started the scoring in the first as an Emily Manahan (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) single pushed Ashley Manusos (Spring Grove, IL) across the plate for the first run of the game.
The Beavers once again pulled together in the second as a Tiffany Buckmaster (Lima) bunt single scored Shelby Erford (Paulding). Manusos picked up Buckmaster and Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville/IN) for two more runs and a 4-0 lead.
Bluffton's offense found its rhythm again in the fourth inning, scoring three runs
on four hits. Manahan drove in three with a single to right center. The Beavers held
the Grizzlies scoreless until the fifth inning when they scored their only run of
the game. Bluffton went on to score two more unearned runs in the sixth to finish
a 9-1 mercy-rule victory.
Stevie Cuttitta (Columbiaville, MI/Clio) picked up the win, allowing just five hits and one run in
her 5.0 innings of work while improving to 10-5 on the season. Megan Smith took the loss, allowing nine hits and nine runs, just three earned.
Megan Price went 2-of-4 at the plate and scored twice. Ashley Manusos finished 2-of-4,
driving in two runs and scoring twice. Emily Manahan also went 2-of-4 on the day and
drove in four runs. Senior Tiffany Buckmaster added two hits, a run and an RBI.
Bluffton's second performance was more impressive. Leadoff hitter Meagan Price opened
game two with a solo home run over the wall in left field. Erford reached on a single
to right center which sent home Manahan for a 3-0 lead after just one inning.
The scoring continued in the third as singles by Chelsie Osborne (Chillicothe/Waverly), Manahan and Erford loaded the sacks for freshman Chelsea Weitz (Dayton/Carroll) who laced a two-run single to right center. Cuttitta drove in Weitz
and Erford when she singled up the middle, making the score 8-0 going into the fourth.
Bluffton scored twice in the fourth inning, but Franklin stayed alive by plating three
runs in the fifth, including an Alli Stropes double down the left field line which pushed Beth Glomb across the plate. Adrienne Way doubled to center field, send two more Grizzlies home. That ended the scoring for
the visitors as the Bluffton picked up the 10-3 win in the nightcap.
Cuttitta nailed down her second win of the day, improving to 11-5 on the season. She allowed
just three hits in 5.0 innings. Kayla Bachek
fell to 2-5 on the season, giving up nine hits and eight runs in three innings of
Chelsie Osborne went a perfect 4-of-4 at the plate and scored twice. Shelby Erford was
also impressive, finishing 3-of-3 with two RBI. Stevie Cuttitta added two hits and
two RBI. Weitz and Price both drove in two runs in the victory.
Bluffton finished its regular season with a mark of 19-14 overall and 11-5 in the
HCAC. The Beavers will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to play in the HCAC tournament
next Friday, May 6. The time and opponent are both to be determined. The winner of
the tourney receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament the following week.