Bluffton stuns Thomas More, 12-7
Bluffton pitching solid in 12-7 upset of Thomas More
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
April 16, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team notched its first home win of the season on April 16, 2009, as the Beavers defeated Thomas More by a score of 12-7. The win upped Bluffton's record to 9-17 for the year, while Thomas More fell to 20-5-1.
Thomas More was the first team to score as they put three unearned runs on the board in their half of the second inning. Spencer Franzreb led off the inning for the Saints with a two-base error on a fly ball to right field. Marty Kersting reached on a bunt single, moving Franzreb to third. Nick Calhoun reached on an error after dropping down a bunt, scoring Franzreb. The Beavers were hurt by seven miscues, including three in the second frame alone.
The Beavers came back in their half of the second, plating two runs of their own. Corey Conn (London) got things started for Bluffton with a leadoff single to center. Senior Chris Bauman (Milford) stepped up to the plate and singled through the left side. Bauman moved to second and Conn to third on a Cory Stephens (Lima/Bath) bunt. Conn crossed the plate on an Allen Slabaugh (Dalton) groundout, while Chris Bauman went to third with two outs. David Riddle (Loveland/Milford) knocked in Bauman on a single to left field.
Bluffton would be able to find more offense in the fourth inning. Chris Bauman once again reached base, this time after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Cory Stephens followed with a single to right center, putting Bauman on second. Allen Slabaugh put down an excellent sacrifice bunt and was able to reach first on a fielding error, loading the bases with no outs. David Riddle got an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center. Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) also followed with a sacrifice fly to center, this one scoring Stephens from third. Brett Howard (Toledo/St. Francis) stepped to the plate after Broyles and drove home Slabaugh on a double down the left field line. The Beavers were able to pick up three runs in the inning to take a 5-4 lead.
The Beavers followed up their three run fourth inning by not allowing the Spartans to score in the fifth, as the Spartans had two hits in their half while stranding three runners on base. In the Bluffton half of the fifth, Curtis Schroeder (Shelby) led off the inning by reaching on an error. Conn put down a bunt to advance the runner, but he was able to beat the throw to reach base. The Beavers continued to put pressure on Thomas More as Schroeder ended up at third and Conn at second thanks to a wild pitch. That miscue proved to be costly as Chris Bauman came up big with a two-RBI single to right. Chris Bauman was also able to come around and score later in the inning on a Brett Howard infield single. Bluffton would end the fifth with a lead of 8-4.
Bluffton would add a lone run in the sixth, but put the game out of reach in the seventh inning, plating three runs in their half. David Riddle led things off with a single to center field. Nick Broyles reached on a muffed throw on his attempted sacrifice bunt, moving Riddle to second. Broyles and Riddle both moved up 90 feet on the next play, a Brett Howard sacrifice. Cody McPherson (Northwood/Lake) plated both runners with one swing of the bat, a two-bagger to left field, but he was cut down trying to stretch it into a triple. Curtis Schroeder scored the final run for Bluffton as he doubled and came around when an errant throw following a passed ball sailed into left field. The Beavers limited the high-powered Thomas More offense to single runs in the eighth and ninth for the 12-7 victory over the Saints.
Cory Stephens had a strong day at the plate for Bluffton. Stephens had three hits in four at bats, scoring a run and getting one RBI. David Riddle, Cody McPherson and Brett Howard each knocked in two RBI for Bluffton. Riddle turned a career day for the Beavers. He threw out three would-be base stealers, picked a runner off second and went 2-of-4 with two RBI, including a sacrifice fly that nearly got over the center fielder with the bases juiced in the Bluffton fourth.
Adrian Fritch (Edon) turned in a solid performance on the mound for Bluffton. Fritch went five innings, giving up four runs with just one earned. He allowed just five hits and struck out one. His record improved to 2-2. Sophomore Nathan Blanton (Cincinnati/LaSalle) held the Saints to a pair of runs on four hits while collecting his first save of the season for three solid frames to end the game.
For Thomas More, Max Robbins had two RBI on the day, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Bluffton was able to knock around starter Aaron Walter for nine runs on 12 hits in six innings. Five of the runs were earned as Walter struck out one. His record fell to 2-2.
Bluffton jumps right back into action with the first game of its Heartland Conference series on Friday, April 17, 2009. The contest in Memorial Field is slated to start at 4 p.m.