Bluffton takes two from Rose-Hulman
March 30, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team avoided its fourth straight trip through splitsville thanks to a Brittany Baker (Springboro) laser down the right field line with two outs in the seventh inning of game one. Bluffton used the momentum gained from that ending to go up 5-1 in game two before cruising to an 11-3 mercy-rule win in the series finale. The Beavers improved to 3-1 in the Heartland Conference and 13-7 overall, while Rose fell to 5-5 and 2-2 in the HCAC.
A bases-loaded walk to Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) put Bluffton up 1-0 in the first before Shelby Erford's (Paulding) rocket back to the mound turned into an inning-ending twin killing.
The Engineers knotted the score with an unearned tally in the third and they added two more scores in the fourth for a 3-1 lead over the home team.
Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill) picked up senior Chelsea Weitz (Dayton/Carroll), who led of the fifth with a double to left center, when her sacrifice fly to center made the score 3-2.
A scoreless sixth set the stage for Baker's heroics in the seventh. An interference call as Weitz motored down the first base line ignited the Bluffton offense with one out. Katie Musgrave (Doylestown/Chippewa) followed with a bunt single on an 0-2 count to put two runners on base. Muffo's ground ball back to the pitcher moved Weitz and Musgrave into scoring position and Baker delivered the knockout blow with her two-bagger into the right field corner.
Chloe Shell (Covington) went the distance in securing her sixth win of the season (6-4). She allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits in seven innings of work.
Bluffton wasted no time in putting its own stamp on game two when Ariana Muffo answered Jessica Ahlborn's leadoff homer with one of her own in the bottom of the frame. Baker doubled and moved to third on Jess Kuzara's (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) single to right center. Jo Bondra made it 3-1 with her two-run double to left field before a pair of wild pitches pushed the score to 5-1.
Rose responded with a run in the top of the second, but freshman Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) came on and got an inning-ending flyout with the bases juiced to quash the threat.
The Beaver offense continued to pour gasoline on the fire as Bluffton added three runs in the third and fourth to put the game out of reach. Scupholm helped herself when she reached first thanks to a wild pitch to open the third. Erford drove her home with an RBI single before Weitz plated Bondra with a sacrifice fly. Musgrave singled in Erford for an 8-2 lead after three innings.
Kuzara, who tripled to the gap in right center, Scupholm and Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta) all drove in runs an inning later for an 11-2 spread. RHIT plated a meaningless run in the fifth as the Beavers wrapped up their first mercy-rule victory since the opening game of the season.
Bondra was a perfect 3-of-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Erford and Kuzara both chipped in with two hits. Five Beavers scored two runs apiece for the victors. Scupholm worked 3.1 innings of outstanding relief while improving to 3-0 on the season. She allowed just one run on six hits with a strikeout.
Bluffton gets back to work on Tuesday, April 1, when the Beavers travel to Defiance for a Heartland Conference doubleheader with the rival Yellow Jackets. Game one is slated for 3;30 p.m.