Bluffton moves to 4-0 at Rebel Spring Games
Beavers stay hot with wins over Concordia and Geneva
March 4, 2013
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team kept the bats rolling with wins over Concordia University-Chicago and Geneva at the Rebel Spring Games on Monday, March 4, 2013. The Beavers took care of Corcordia in five innings before dropping 2012 PAC champion Geneva College 6-2 under the lights.
Following the same script they used on Sunday, Bluffton jumped out on top of Concordia with four runs in the opening frame. Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) singled up the middle with two outs to start the rally. Jessica Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) walked before HCAC Player of the Week Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill./) poked a base hit through the middle down 0-2 in the count, plating Clark for the 1-0 lead. Brittany Baker (Springboro) singled home Kuzara and Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind) picked up Muffo with a hit through the right side. Mackenzie Bedlion (Marshallville/Smithville) capped the first inning barrage with a base knock that sent Baker scurrying home.
Concordia cut the deficit in half with two tallies in the bottom of the first, but Bluffton responded with four more runs in the top of the second. Clark was in on the action with an RBI double following a walk to senior Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley). Muffo's base hit scored Clark before Bedlion's shot down the line caromed off Concordia's third baseman for a two-run double.
A six-run third put the Beavers on cruise control as Bluffton nailed down its second mercy-rule victory in as many days with the 14-4 win over Concordia. Kuzara had the big hit in the inning, a bases-loaded triple that went to the wall in left center after smoking the second base bag and taking a surprising detour. Brittany Baker's two-run shot to left was her second long ball in just 10 at-bats.
Muffo was a perfect 4-of-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Bedlion finished the day 3-for-3 with three RBI. Kuzara and Baker both drove in three runs for the Beavers, while Clark scored three times. Bluffton pounded out 17 hits in the game.
Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) fanned four in three innings of work for her first win of the season. She allowed two runs on two hits and did not issue a walk. Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) wrapped up the victory with two innings of relief, giving up two runs on three hits.
Bluffton struggled to find any rhythm offensively in game two thanks to nine walks by the Geneva pitchers, questionable calls by the umpiring crew and a scene straight out of Ray Stevens' Mississippi Squirrel Revival. The Beavers battled through it all and came away with a 6-2 victory over a Geneva team that earned the PAC Championship just one year ago.
Single scores in the first three innings put Bluffton up 3-0 in the nightcap. Shelby Wade scored on a wild pitch when Geneva had to throw down to first following a rare strikeout of Katie Clark in the first. Small ball added up to a run in the second when Ashley Knippen's (Wapakoneta) ground ball to shortstop plated Chelsea Weitz (Dayton/Carroll). Muffo continued to batter the ball with an RBI double to the wall in right center an inning later.
The visitors on the scoreboard made a game of it with two runs in the fourth, but Bluffton squelched the comeback immediately with three answers in the bottom of the frame. With the bags full of Beavers, Katie Clark made Geneva pay with a triple to the base of the wall down the left field line. Wade, Bedlion and Nikitas all crossed the dish as they capped a 6-2 final on Monday night.
Wade scored two runs and Muffo's fourth double of the season wrapped up a 5-of-5 day for the sophomore. Chloe Shell (Covington), who worked around an illegal pitch caused by a squirrel dancing in the Geneva dugout, moved to 2-0 on the season after holding the Golden Tornadoes to two runs on five hits in seven innings of work. She struck out two and walked two in the win.
The Beavers jump right back into the fire on Tuesday when they take on Alvernia and Simpson at the Osceola Complex. Bluffton kicks off the morning at 9 a.m against the Crusaders before meeting its second national-power of the day at 1 p.m.