Bluffton splits on day three at Rebel Spring Games
March 7, 2017
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - With sunny and warm weather conditions in Kissimmee, Fla., the Bluffton University softball team hit the diamond for day three of the Rebel Spring Games on Tuesday, March 7. The Beavers couldn’t get anything going in game one as they lost to Thomas More, 6-1. Despite the struggles in the lidlifter, Bluffton picked up the slack in game two and played great defense as they moved to 4-2 on the season. Junior NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) tossed her first shutout of the year in the 4-0 victory.
Thomas More jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the first inning after a couple of RBI singles by the Saints. Facing a 2-0 deficit, the Beavers struggled to get in a groove offensively as they stayed hitless through the first five innings. In the bottom of the fourth Thomas More added four more runs for a commanding 6-0 spread.
The Beavers were finally able to scratch out a couple hits in the bottom of the sixth, including an RBI single by junior BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) that made the score 6-1. Bluffton went down in order an inning later as Thomas More moved to 3-2 with the 6-1 victory.
Brittany Huff and JOSIE McELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) collected the only hits for the Beavers. MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) crossed the dish for Bluffton's lone run.
Game one starter EMILY SCUPHOLM (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) went 3.2 innings, allowing six runs off nine hits. Scupholm struck out three batters in the morning contest. Freshman ALEXIS MONTEMARANO (Brook Park/Berea-Midpark) finished off the game for Bluffton, allowing only one hit and two walks over the final 2.1 innings.
The Beavers opened up game two with a hot start right off the bat as Josie McElroy and CHELSEA ZOLTOWSKI (Sylvania/Southview) each laced RBI singles. Bluffton maintained that 2-0 lead as they entered the bottom of the sixth. Brittany Huff would get in scoring position with two outs after smacking a double down the left field line. Josie McElroy liked what she saw with a 3-0 count and crushed a two-run bomb to center for a 4-0 advantage. The Fighting Muskies loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but solid defense by the Beavers nailed down the shutout.
McElroy led Bluffton at the plate as the junior went 2-of-3 with a single and her second home run of the year. Brittany Huff added two hits as well, raising her batting average to a team-high .455 with 10 hits and 11 RBI. Sophomore KELSEY REEDER (Galion/Northmor) added a single and drew a walk in the victory.
Nicole Thomas had a superb day in the circle, tossing a complete-game shutout while scattering eight hits. Needing only 88 pitches, the junior improved to 2-1 on the season with the victory.
Bluffton will head back to the field on Thursday, March 9, when they face Widener at 11:15 a.m. and then Penn State – Altoona at 1:30. Both games will be played on OCSC Field 4.