Beavers drop two at Rebel Games
Bluffton drops two on third day of Rebel Spring Games
March 5, 2013
Kissimmee, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team saw its four-game winning streak to start the season come to an end with a pair of losses to Alvernia and Simpson on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A defense that had been solid during the first four games came up short this afternoon as the Beavers finished the day with seven errors, including five in a 9-6 loss to Simpson.
Alvernia put up two unearned runs in the third inning of game one, marking the first time this season that Bluffton trailed in a game. The Crusaders, who went 38-11 last season, took advantage of an error and an illegal pitch to push two runs across the plate in the third after coming up empty in the second despite three straight singles to open the frame.
Pinch hitter Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) laced a one-out single to left in the fifth and promptly stole second, getting into scoring position with one down. Junior Shelby Erford (Paulding) picked her up with a single to left, helping Bluffton pull within a run of Alvernia.
The Crusaders used a walk and a pair of base hits to push the lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth. Sophomore standout Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) singled and came around to score on Mackenzie Bedlion's (Marshallville/Smithville) base hit to right center, but Alvernia shut the door in the seventh to hand the Beavers their first setback of the season.
Junior Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) had her best outing of the young season, going all seven innings and allowing three runs, just one earned, on eight hits. She struck out three and walked two. Clark was the only Beaver to finish with multiple hits in game one.
Bluffton bounced back against Simpson early in the second game of the day. Three errors by the Storm in inning one allowed the Beavers to take a quick 1-0 lead. With the score knotted 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Bluffton loaded the bases as Katie Clark strolled to the dish. Facing Simpson ace Kacee Arey who entered the contest just three batters prior, Clark watched the first pitch cross the plate for a called strike. Arey's second offering was not as lucky as it found the sweet spot on Clark's bat shortly before it landed outside the centerfield fence for her second homer of the season and a 6-2 lead over Simpson. It was Bluffton's second grand slam of the season in just six games.
Simpson chipped away at the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth before the wheels came off for Bluffton two innings later. The Storm used two Beaver errors and three walks to parlay three hits into five runs as Simpson went up 9-6 on the strength of three unearned tallies. The home team on the scoreboard gave Bluffton hope with two miscues in the seventh, but Simpson held on to keep its record spotless at 13-0.
Clark scored twice and drove in four with her grand slam. Erford scored two times and Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.) went 2-of-3 at the plate. Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.) went 2-of-4 with an RBI.
Sophomore Chloe Shell (Covington) took the loss, falling to 2-1 after allowing nine runs, five earned, on nine hits in five innings of work. She walked two and struck out one batter.
The Beavers will regroup before taking the diamond at 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Bluffton takes on #4 Roanoke at the Osceola Complex before facing off with Thomas More at 5 p.m.