EMU 4, Bluffton 3
Beavers drop season-opener to Eastern Mennonite, 4-3
March 3, 2008
SARASOTA, Fla. - The Bluffton University baseball team received an outstanding performance from junior hurler Matt Perkins (Convoy/Crestview) on Sunday, March 2, but Eastern Mennonite rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory over the Beavers in the 2008 season opener. Bluffton opened its 2008 campaign on the one-year anniversary of the tragic bus accident that claimed the lives of five players on the 2007 squad.
Sophomore Cody McPherson (Millbury/Lake) provided the only offense for either team during the first six innings with his solo home run to left center to start the second inning. Perkins held the Eastern Mennonite bats in check through the first seven innings, limiting the Royals to only three singles.
A one-out Ryan Baightel (Wapakoneta/Wapakoneta) dinger in the top of the seventh gave the Beavers a two-run cushion with two innings to play.
Eastern Mennonite cut the deficit in half with a C. Handler pinch hit homer in the bottom of the eighth.
The Beavers tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, when Tony Moore's (Elida/Elida) double plated Curtis Schroeder (Shelby/Shelby) for a 3-1 Bluffton lead heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Following a leadoff walk to Z. Polloni, Perkins exited in favor of senior Tyler Sprunger (Berne, Ind./South Adams). A Bluffton error and two more walks set the stage for a Handler walk off run-scoring single as the Royals came back for the 4-3 win in the Beavers' 2008 opener.
Moore, Baightel and Tim Kay (Alpharetta, Ga./Blessed Trinity) all rapped two hits for the Beavers. Baightel and McPherson both pounded solo home runs in the loss. Perkins limited EMU to five hits and two earned runs in eight innings of work. He finished with four strikeouts.
Bluffton returns to action on Monday, March 3, when it takes on Anna Maria in a doubleheader at the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Florida. The first game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.