Bluffton takes two on final day at Rebel Games
Beavers wrap up Florida trip with wins over Presentation and Aurora
March 7, 2013
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team received three lights-out pitching performances in wins over Presentation and Aurora on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Junior Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) and Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) limited Presentation to three hits in a five-inning 11-0 shitout of the Saints in game one. Not to be outdone, sophomore ace Chloe Shell (Covington) held Aurora (6-2) scoreless for seven innings en route to a 3-2 nine-inning victory over the Spartans in Bluffton's Florida finale. The Beavers head north with a 7-3 mark after facing off against some of the best teams in the country this week.
Eight runs in the first two innings knocked Presentation starter Shelby Anderson out of the game before she could record an out in the second frame. The Beavers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead before the Saints got off the field. Jessica Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) singled home Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) to open the floodgates. With the bags full of Beavers, sophomore Mackenzie Bedlion (Marshallville/Smithville) drilled a three-run triple down the left field line for a 4-0 lead. Freshman Kristina Hamler (Reynoldsburg/Pickerington Central) took advantage of her first career start, driving in Bedlion with a base knock to the gap in right center.
Bluffton picked up where it left of an inning later when Kuzara doubled home Shelby Wade and Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) for a 7-0 lead. Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.) ripped Bluffton's third double of the inning, picking up Kuzara from second and making the score 8-0.
With two hits in the first two innings, Clark turned around and hit from the left side. However, the results did not change and she smacked an RBI single up the gut, driving in Shelby Erford (Paulding) for a 9-0 advantage. Bedlion crossed the dish in the fourth before Nikitas doubled in Kuzara an inning later for an 11-0 mercy-rule win over Presentation.
Clark led the hit parade, going 3-of-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Kuzara, Bedlion and Nikitas all finished with two hits in the victory. Bedlion and Kuzara both drove in three runs for the Beavers. Kuzara scored three times, while Wade and Bedlion both crossed the dish two times.
Owens allowed just one hit with two strikeouts in two innings of work before coming out with a comfortable 9-0 lead. She inproved to 3-1 on the season, while Emily Kolezynski worked the final three innings for her first save of the season. She allowed only two hits and fanned three.
In a game that mirrored Bluffton's 4-3 nine-inning win over Aurora at the 2012 Rebel Spring Games, the Beavers and Spartans went scoreless for the first seven innings on Thursday afternoon. With the international tie-breaker in effect, Aurora took advantage with a sacrifice bunt and Lillie Stone single to left for a 1-0 lead in the eighth. Shell slammed the door shut though and Bluffton answered in the home half. Freshman Ashley Knippen's (Wapakoneta) single to center scored pinch runner Chelsea Weitz (Dayton/Carroll) to make the score 1-1 before an Wade lined into an inning-ending double play.
Aurora again used a sacrifice bunt in the ninth and followed that up with an Alana Weitzenfeld RBI single to left just like the Spartans did in the eighth. Shell came up big as she had all game, forcing Aurora into a couple popups while giving Bluffton a chance to stay in the game. With Wade placed on second to start the bottom of the ninth, Clark laid down a beauty, reaching first and moving Wade to third with a bunt single. Kuzara ripped a shot under the first baseman's mitt, scoring Wade and sending Clark to third. Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.) broke out of her recent slump with the game-winning single to right center for a 3-2 victory over the Spartans, giving Bluffton a solid 7-3 record as the Beavers head back to Ohio.
Shell went the distance, allowing just the two unearned runs in innings eight and nine as she improved to 3-2 on the season. She struck out three and walked two while holding Aurora to just five hits. Clark went 2-of-4 in the victory.
Bluffton is slated to host Adrian College at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.