Beavers down Lebanon 5-3
March 5, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball crew took to the diamond for their second set of games in Florida on Monday, March 5. They dropped a 9-8 decision to Bridgewater before knocking off Lebanon Valley in a night affair under the lights. The split puts the Beavers at 1-3 for the season.
Bluffton would get the ball rolling early after JOSIE McELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) smoked a double to right center which scored a pair of runs for a 2-0 lead in the first. Bridgewater would answer with a run following a fielder’s choice to cut Bluffton’s lead to 2-1.
The Beavers added two more in the third inning thanks to an error by the Eagles and a sacrifice fly by McElroy. Bridgewater responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the side, making it 4-3. With one out in the third, the Eagles knotted the game up at 4-4 after an RBI double by STEPHANIE CARROLL. They weren't done as an RBI single gave them a 5-4 lead on the Beavers.
A single by JESSIE MADZIA (Massillon/Tuslaw) scored TAYLOR STEINKE (Findlay) to tie the game (5-5) in the fourth inning. After a quiet fifth frame, Bridgewater exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to forge a commanding 9-5 lead.
The Beavers rallied in the seventh, plating tallies on a MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) single and a Josie McElroy two-run double that made it 9-8 but that ended the scoring as Bridgewater held on for the victory.
McElroy led the way as the senior went 2-for-3 at the plate with five RBI. Schmidt would cross the dish three times to go along with a pair of hits. BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) and Jessie Madzia both smacked a pair of hits in the loss.
Freshman KATIE McCORD (Lawrenceburg, Ind./Lawrenceburg) went 2.1 innings, allowing three earned runs off two hits. Jessie Madzia took the loss, falling to 0-2 on the year as the senior went 3.2 innings while allowing five earned runs off six Bridgewater hits in the outing.
Bluffton was right back at it as they took on the Lebanon Valley Dutchman in the second game of the day just 20 minutes later. Lebanon would get on the board in the first after a single scored a run and put them up 1-0. The Beavers answered with a sacrifice fly by KELSEY REEDER (Galion/Northmor) to tie the game up, 1-1. Huff and McElroy made it 3-1 when LVC dropped a popup following an infield single and base on balls.
The Dutchman picked up a run in the top of the second to cut the Beaver lead to 3-2 before senior Josie McElroy set the school record for career home runs with her 21st, a solo bomb to right center which made it 4-2 Bluffton. Lebanon Valley would cut Bluffton’s lead to one after picking up a run in the top of the fifth to make it 4-3.
The Beavers tacked on an insurance run in the sixth with a Makenzie Schmidt RBI double down the left field line that extended their lead to 5-3. Bluffton was able to get out of the seventh inning and pick up its first win of the season and Head Coach Amanda DeMoine's first at Bluffton!
Going 3-of-4 in game two, Makenzie Schmidt scored a run and drove one in while being a menace on the basepaths. Josie McElroy, who made Bluffton history, connected twice at the plate with Brittany Huff and SYDNEY BOWEN (Convoy/Crestview) each notching a hit and a run for the victors.
NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) picked up the win, improving to 1-1 on the year. The senior allowed three runs, but none earned, on seven hits while striking out one.
Bluffton has a quick turnaround, hitting the diamond on Tuesday, March 6, at 11:15 a.m. when the Beavers play Thiel College and then Widener University at approximately 1:30 p.m..You can keep up to date on Bluffton’s games down in Florida on Twitter @Bluffton_sports and at www.bluffton.edu/athletics.