Bluffton earns #2 seed with split at Transy
Megan Patton fires one-hitter in 6-0 shutout at Transylvania
April 28, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Bluffton University softball team received a dominating game one pitching performance from freshman Megan Patton (Waynesfield/Perry) en route to a 6-0 shutout that secured second place in the Heartland Conference on Saturday, April 28, 2012. The Beavers were one out from a 7-4 victory and eight-game winning streak before Transylvania rallied with three runs in the bottom of the seventh and two in the eighth for a 9-8 win in the nightcap. The game one victory snapped a string of seven straight setbacks at the hands of the Pioneers.
Bluffton wrapped up its regular season at 25-15 and 11-5 in the conference while qualifying for a sixth straight Heartland Conference tournament since it went to a four-team format. Transylvania moved to 19-17-1 overall and 10-6 in the HCAC.
Patton was sensational in the circle, facing just 18 batters through the first six innings, her only blemish a hit batter that was erased on a line drive double play ball. Transy's Meiners broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff double to center in the top of the seventh. A walk and a Bluffton error loaded the bases with one out before Patton slammed the door with a strikeout and fly ball for her 10th victory of the season.
Meagan Price (Toledo/Springfield) continued to add to her school record when she drew a leadoff walk in game one. She crossed the dish on fellow senior Emily Manahan's (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) infield single.
Another walk to Price set up the Beavers in the top of the fifth inning. Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) doubled home Price before another RBI single from Manahan made the score 4-0. With Lindsay Robertson (Cincinnati/Northwest) aboard, freshman Jessica Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) went yard for her first homer of the season and a commanding 6-0 advantage.
Price set the table for Bluffton, going 1-of-1 with three free passes and two runs scored. Clark and Manahan both went 2-of-4 with Manahan driving in two runs. Kuzara drove in two with her fifth-inning dinger. Pinch hitter Christina Hreror (Austintown/Cardinal Mooney) was 1-for-1 in her trip to the plate.
Transylvania jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the visitors on the strength of three first inning singles and a hit batter. Two Bluffton miscues in the third allowed the Pioneers to open up a 4-0 advantage thanks to a pair of unearned runs.
Bluffton responded emphatically with a six-run outburst in the top of the fourth. Robertson singled through the left side before walks to Kuzara and Mackenzie Bedlion (Marshallville/Smithville) loaded the sacks. Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) picked up Robertson and Kuzara and Bedlion came around when Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ky.) reached on a Transy error. Wade and Shelby Erford (Paulding) crossed the plate when Clark ripped a single to right. Manahan capped the scoring with an RBI single up the gut for a 6-4 lead.
A pair of singles and a Shelby Wade sacrifice bunt help Bluffton push its lead to 7-4 in the top of the seventh. Erford singled home Kuzara with an insurance run.
The Beavers were on the verge of wrapping up a fourth straight sweep when a hit batter and a walk started a game-saving rally for the home team. A single and a double knotted the score at seven, sending the finale into extra innings.
Bluffton scored one in the eighth with the international tie-breaker in place, but after a popped up bunt, back-to-back hits by the Pioneers sent Transy to a 9-8 victory over the Beavers.
Katie Clark went 3-of-4 to go 5-of-8 for the afternoon, upping her team-best average to .448 for the regular season. Robertson, Kuzara and Erford all chipped in with two hits each. Kuzara scored two runs for the Beavers.
Patton took the loss in game two, surrendering five runs on four hits in 1.2 innings of relief.
The Beavers will prepare for a re-match with #3 seed Transylvania at Anderson in the first game of the Heartland Conference tournament on Friday, May 4, 2012. The contest with the Pioneers is slated for 10 a.m.