Beavers put up 30 runs in Wednesday victories
March 4, 2015
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team had to delay its game one celebration as Mount St. Marys put up six runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth, but starter Chloe Shell (Covington) re-entered in the sixth and closed out her third victory of the season (3-0) with four straight outs, securing the 13-10 win. The Beavers took Coach Bruder's post-game words to heart as they rolled off nine runs on six hits against Northland University in the first inning of game two. Jessie Madzia (Massillon/Tuslaw) got it done at the plate and in the circle, earning her second win of the season as the Beavers dropped the Lumberjills by a convincing 17-4 margin in a five inning mercy-rule affair. Bluffton stands at 7-1 with one day left in the Sunshine State, while Northland slipped to 0-6 on the season.
Bluffton got off to a hot start in the first inning as the home team on the scoreboard went out to a 2-0 lead. ARIANA MUFFO (New Athens, Ill./New Athens) and MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) took advantage of a wild pitch to put the Beavers on top.
Bluffton continued to pour it on with five runs in the second that made the score 7-0 after two innings. ABIGAIL BLAKE (Lancaster/Farfield Union) singled home fellow freshman BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) to make it 3-0. Muffo notched a single up the middle that plated both Schmidt and Blake. A two-run double by senior BRITTANY BAKER (Springsboro) rounded out the inning for Bluffton.
The Beavers added another run in the bottom of the third after a Makenzie Schmidt double scored freshman TESSA GROOMS (Washington Court House/Miami Trace), giving Bluffton an 8-0 advantage and having the Beavers on the verge of another quick win.
The Knights refused to back down as they scored six runs in the fifth inning, pulling within two thanks to six hits, a walk and a hit batter. The Beavers answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth as pinch hitter JOSIE McELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) deposited the only pitch she saw in the game deep over the fence in left center to open the frame. After an ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta) tally, an RBI single by JESSICA KUZARA (Flat Roch, Mich./Huron) capped off the inning for Bluffton.
With the score 11-6, Mount St. Mary added four more tallies to make it a one-run game in the top of the sixth. A Brittany Huff RBI single scored JO BONDRA (Highland Heights/Mayfield), and a Makenzie Schmidt run-scoring ground ball made the score 13-10 in favor of the Beavers. Shell set Mount St. Marys down in order during the seventh, helping to notch her third win of the season.
Leading Bluffton's offense were Brittany Baker and Brittany Huff who each went 2-for-3 at the plate. Makenzie Schmidt was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Ashley Knippen also added two RBI and two runs on two hits.
Chloe Shell (3-0) went 4.1 innings, allowing only one hit and one strikeout on just 43 pitches. NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) struggled in her first stint on the mound, allowing six runs on five hits with three walks. Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) pitched an inning for the Beavers and gave up four runs on five hits.
Although Northland manufactured a run in the top of the first, a nine spot in the bottom of the frame proved more than enough in game two. The Beavers opened their scoring when Northland pitcher ALLI DUNN walked in a run with the bases loaded to tie the game up at one. The walk was followed up by a two-run single up the middle from senior Jess Kuzara. A squeeze bunt by CARLY LEVINDOFSKE (Brunswick/Magnificat) scored Kuzara. JESSIE MADZIA (Massillion/Tuslaw) helped her own cause with a bomb to left center for her first collegiate dinger in her first start in the circle. An RBI triple to left center by MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) made the score 7-1. The inning was capped off when hot-hitting ASHLEY KNIPPEN went yard with a two-run shot just inside the left field foul pole.
The Beavers continued their scoring spree in the second inning after an RBI two-bagger by Josie McElroy that picked up ABIGAIL BLAKE (Lancaster/Farfield Union). A sacrifice fly by Carly Levindofske scored Kuzara, making the score 11-1 after two.
After errors were made by the Lumberjills that scored Baker and Schmidt, Bluffton held a commanding 13-1 lead going to the fourth.
Northland made the score 13-4 with a three-run homer by senior CAROLYN MALECHA. Bluffton responded, adding four more runs in the bottom of the fourth. A bases-clearing double by Ashley Knippen scored Schmidt, Huff, and Madzia. After another Northland error, Knippen crossed the dish with Bluffton's final run of the game en route to a 17-4 victory for the Beavers.
Makenzie Schmidt led Bluffton at the plate, going 3-for-4, scoring four runs and adding an RBI. Ashley Knippen had a fantastic effort, going a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs, five RBI, and her first home run of the season. Senior Brittany Baker had two's across the stat card as she went 2-for-2, with two runs and two RBI.
Jessie Madzia had a memorable first start on the mound, tossing all 5.0 innings while allowing four runs on four hits. She fanned four Lumberjills and hit a homer while scoring twice.
The Beavers will look to continue their impressive start when they face Olivet on Thursday, March 5 at 9 a.m. on the final day in Florida. Bluffton caps the trip with an 11 a.m. showdown against St. John Fisher.