Softball drops two on opening day
March 6, 2016
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team traveled down to Kissimmee, Fla. to kick the season off in style. With sunny skies and warm weather, the Beavers took on the Central College Dutch in their season opener and new Head Coach Marissa McDaniel’s debut with Bluffton. The Beavers kept it close, but were unable to pull out the victory as they were defeated, 2-1. Central improved to 4-1 following the hard-fought win.
The Dutch were the first on the board after a two-run second inning. Bluffton answered with a score in the bottom of the second after an RBI single by ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta). In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Beavers had bases juiced but were unable to score.
Bluffton shut down Central over the final five frames, however, the Beavers were not able to get in a groove offensively as they took their first loss of the season.
On the mound for the Beavers was junior EMILY SCUPHOLM (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) who tossed a complete game, allowing two runs on eight hits. Scupholm struck out one and walked one.
Leading the Beavers offensively was MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) who went 2-for-3 at the plate. Ashley Knippen was 1-of-3, notching Bluffton's only RBI in game one.
The Beavers matched up with the Bridgewater College Eagles in the second game of the afternoon. After a hot start for Bluffton, taking a 5-2 lead, the Eagles fought back and scored seven in the sixth inning en route to their 9-6 win over the Beavers. Bridgewater picked up their first win of the season (1-0) while the Beavers fell to 0-2.
The Beavers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning. Sophomore JOSIE McELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) drilled a double to left to score JESSIE MADZIA (Massillon/Tuslaw) and KELSEY REEDER (Galion/Northmor). McElroy would cross the dish following a fielding error by the Eagles.
Bridgewater got one back after a hit by pitch scored a run with the bases loaded. The Beavers answered with a run of their own in the top of the third when Schmidt scored on a bases-loaded walk after another free pass and two singles put them up 4-1 entering the fourth.
The Beavers added another run in the fourth inning when BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) crushed a solo home run to right to give Bluffton their first dinger of the season. Bridgewater made the score 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to an RBI groundout.
After a scoreless fifth for both teams, the sixth belonged to the Eagles as they scored seven runs to take a 9-5 advantage. Tallies came on a two-RBI single, an error that scored two and a three-run shot.
With the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, ABIGAIL BLAKE (Lancaster/Fairfield Union) notched an RBI single to left field. The Beavers followed with three straight outs as they slipped to 0-2.
On the mound for Bluffton was NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) who went 4.1 innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on four hits, along with three walks. Jessie Madzia took the loss (0-1) as she tossed 1.2 innings, allowing four hits, five runs and three walks.
Leading the Beavers offensively was Josie McElroy who went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Brittany Huff, Abigail Blake and MERCEDES BURNS (Ashtebula/Edgewood) all drove in runs in game two.
The Beavers take the field again on Monday, March 7, when they face Simpson at 9 a.m. and Carroll at 11:15. You can follow all the action from Florida on our Twitter page @bluffton_sports.