Beavers down Carroll for first victory
March 7, 2016
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team opened up day two from Florida playing the Simpson College Storm in an early morning battle. It was the Storm that took game one as they defeated the Beavers 2-1 in eight innings, handing Bluffton its third straight loss to open the season, while Simpson improved to 11-3. The 11:30 a.m. contest pitted Carroll (Wis.) against the Beavers. A convincing 6-1 victory by Bluffton was the first win for the Beavers in the Head Coach Marissa McDaniel era!
Simpson was first to get on the board after an RBI single brought home a run for a 1-0 first inning lead. After a scoreless second and third for the Beavers, Bluffton pitcher EMILY SCUPHOLM (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) fanned the leadoff batter for Simpson in the bottom of the third. Bluffton answered with a run of its own in the top of the fourth to tie the game 1-1 when ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta) singled home JESSIE MADZIA (Massillon/Tuslaw). Scoreless frames in the fifth, six, and seventh set up free softball for the fans in attendance.
The Beavers were unable to score a run in the top of the eighth despite going directly to the international tie-breaker. The Storm took advantage of their runner on second as a passed ball moved her to third. The Beavers intentionally loaded to bases to set up a potential force play at home, but a sacrifice fly to left field plated the game-winning run for Simpson, giving The Storm a 2-1 victory.
The Beavers struggled at the plate, collecting only two hits to the Storm’s eight. KELSEY REEDER (Galion/Northmor) and Ashley Knippen each went 1-for-3 for Bluffton with Knippen knocking home the lone RBI for the Beavers.
Emily Scupholm (0-2) took the loss despite a superb effort on the hill. She went the entire 7.1 innings, allowing only two runs, one earned. Scupholm struck out two batters and issued two walks while tossing 129 pitches, 79 for strikes.
The Beavers got out to a quick start, scoring the first run of the ball game after JOSIE McELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) doubled to right to drive in BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont). The Pioneers tied it up in the top of the third at 1-1 with an RBI single. Bluffton responded in the bottom of the inning when JESSIE MADZIA (Massillon/Tuslaw) belted a bases-loaded double down the left field line to score three runs, making it a 4-1 ballgame.
The Beavers made the score 5-1 in the fifth after Brittany Huff hit a sacrifice fly to score KELSI WILSON (Pataskala/Licking Heights) who ripped a double to get in scoring position. After an RBI single by freshman KELSEY REEDER (Galion/Northmor), the score was 6-1 at the end of the sixth. The Beavers worked around an error in the seventh to shut down the Pioneers hope for a comeback as they collected their first victory of the year.
Leading the offense for the Beavers was Kelsey Reeder who went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a triple. Josie McElroy collected two hits and two RBI while Kelsi Wilson and Brittany Huff each scored twice. Madzia had the key hit, a three-run double in the third frame.
NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) picked up her first collegiate win as she masterful in a complete-game five-hitter. Needing just 74 pitches, Thomas did not allow a single walk in the outing.
Bluffton will be back at in on Tuesday, March 7, when they take on Coach McDaniel's alma mater, Marietta, with a 9 a.m. start time. They will face Husson, also at OCSC Field 5, following Marietta at approximately 11:15 a.m. You can follow all the action from Florida on our Twitter page @bluffton_sports.