Bluffton splits with Heidelberg
March 23, 2016
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team won a slugfest over visiting Heidelberg, 10-8, in game one before dropping a shortened contest, 3-2, in the nightcap. The Beavers handed the Student Princes just their second loss of the season and then had the threat of sundown curtail their comeback efforts with one inning to play as Bluffton moved to 9-9, while Heidelberg now stands 10-2 on the season.
The visitors went up 2-0 in the first thanks to three hits and those scores were just the beginning. A four-base throwing error on Kelsey Reeder's (Galion Northmor) sacrifice bunt made it 2-2 when she followed Jessie Madzia (Massillon/Tuslaw) across the dish!
Madzia singled in Abigail Blake (Lancaster/Fairfield Union) in the bottom of the second before Josie McElroy's (Mt Orab/Western Brown) two-run double picked up Madzia and Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta) for a 5-2 spread.
Heidelberg answered back with three runs in the top of the third, but Bluffton kept plugging away with four more tallies in the home half. Knippen singled to center, driving in Blake and Madzia followed with a three-run shot down the left field line for a 9--5 advantage.
Chelsea Zoltowski (Sylvania/Southview) answered Heidelberg's score in the fourth with her first career dinger for a 10-6 lead after four innings. The Student Princes made it 10-8 when Abbey McKee went yard in the fifth. Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) nailed down the victory by limiting the visitors to just one hit over the final two frames.
Scupholm improved to 5-4 on the season after battling a Heidelberg lineup that came into the game hitting a whopping .359 for the season. She allowed eight runs on 13 hits in a complete game effort with three strikeouts and just one free pass.
Madzia went 3-of-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. Reeder, Zoltowski and Knippen all finished with two hits. McElroy drove in two runs and Blake scored twice.
Game two was in stark contrast to the offensive fireworks displayed in the opener. Heidelberg broke the scoreless tie with a McKee RBI double in the third.
Ashley Knippen knotted the score at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly to center an inning later, plating Brittany Huff (Clayton/Northmont) who led off the frame with a single.
Three walks helped the visitors make it 3-1 in the top of the fifth, but Bluffton pulled within one run in the sixth when Zoltowski singled and came around to score courtesy of another Heidelberg throwing error. As the teams were trading places to start the seventh, the game was called due the potential threat of oncoming darkness. For the second straight season, Bluffton and Heidelberg were unable to play to completion in their annual non-conference series.
Madzia fell to 2-4 on the season after allowing three runs on nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts. McElroy went 2-of-3 and finished the day 3-for-7 with two RBI.
Bluffton returns to action on Saturday, March 26, when the Beavers host Calvin College. The first contest is slated for 1 p.m. at Bluffton Field.