Beavers stay alive in HCAC Tournament
May 2, 2014
ANDERSON, Ind. - A three-run seventh propelled Rose-Hulman to a stunning 4-2 victory over Bluffton in the Heartland Conference tournament lidlifter. The teams combined for three runs in a 30-minute first inning that saw four free passes issued, two for each team, but the offenses went south until Rose put it together in the final frame. Bluffton put the opener in the rearview mirror quickly, going up 5-0 over Transylvania in the loser's bracket game en route to a 5-1 victory that extended the season at least one more day.
The Engineers loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first, but Chloe Shell (Covington) limited the damage to one run despite struggling with control while walking a pair of batters. The home team on the scoreboard answered back with two tallies in the bottom of the frame as the game had shootout written all over it. A Rose throwing error on Emily Kolezynski's (Strongsville) infield single allowed the first run to score and Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) followed with squeeze bunt that sent Brittany Baker (Springboro) scurrying for home.
Shell limited Rose to single hits in four straight innings while Bluffton went three up and three down in the third, fourth and fifth innings. With the score still 2-1 in favor of the Beavers going to the seventh, Bluffton was just three outs away from a game in the winner's bracket. Consecutive safeties by the Engineers to start the frame put runners on second and third with no outs. A Marissa Stout sacrifice fly knotted the game before Chris Rollins had the big hit, a two-run laser over the wall in left center for a 4-2 lead. Rose ace Carly Heibel worked around a couple Bluffton hits in the bottom of the frame as the Engineers opened the tournament with a win.
The Beavers managed just five hits and none for extra bases in their loss Friday morning. Junior Chloe Shell fell to 11-8 after giving up four runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts and five walks.
A leadoff homer by Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.) on the first pitch of game two set the tone as Bluffton scored in each of the first three innings en route to a 5-0 lead. Baker followed with a two-bagger to center and she made it 2-0 when Emily Kolezynski beat out an infield single.
Chelsea Weitz (Dayton/Carroll) singled home Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta) in the second and Bluffton pushed the lead to 5-0 an inning later when Shelby Erford (Paulding) and Knippen knocked in runs for the visitors on the scoreboard.
A Lauren Willett homer to open the bottom of the fifth made the score 5-1, but Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) sealed the victory with a pair of shutout frames. The freshman allowed three hits and did not issue a walk in innings six and seven.
Erford went 3-of-4 with an RBI while Kolezynski and Knippen added two hits for the victors. Shell, in her second start of the day, improved to 12-8 after holding the Pioneers to one run on two hits in five innings of work. She fanned two and walked two.
Bluffton will play the loser of the Anderson vs. Rose-Hulman winner's bracket game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Check the Bluffton University Softball webpage for schedule updates.