Bluffton 13, Transylvania 8
Bluffton rallies from 6-0 deficit in 13-8 win over Pioneers
April 6, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton Beavers moved to within one game of .500 as they outslugged HCAC opponent Transylvania 13-8 on Friday, April 6. The victory improved the Beavers' record to 11-12 on the season (4-4 HCAC). The Pioneers fell to 11-11 overall (5-4 HCAC).
Bluffton got off on the wrong foot as the home team was hit hard and committed three errors in falling behind 6-0 heading into bottom half of the third. But it was just a matter of time before the tide turned, as the Beaver bats started warming up. In the bottom of the inning, three singles by Airic Steagall (Hillsboro), Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) and Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) loaded the bases with Beavers. After a short flyball made it two outs in the inning, Tyler Wright (Troy) came through in the clutch with a bases clearing single, cutting the Bluffton deficit to 6-3.
After a 1-2-3 top of the fourth from Brad Schlabach (Fredericksburg/Hiland), the bats continued where they left off in the third. A walk to Matt McKinney (Columbus Grove/Bath) and a single by Steagall set up an RBI single from Cianci to make the score 6-4. A wild pitch and a free pass to Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) loaded the bases once again. Richardson picked up Steagall with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5. Then, all-time hits leader Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) came through when he took a 1-2 Pioneer offering and drove it over the right field fence for a three-run blast, his first of the season. The four-bagger put the Beavers on top 8-6 after four.
The Beavers added a ninth run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Stephenson and then followed it with a four-run seventh. The inning was ignited by an RBI double from McKinney that scored Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer). Steagall then plated McKinney on a single to extend the lead to 11-7, but the Beaver bats weren't finished. After a walk to Cianci, Niermann and Richardson followed with a pair of singles to score Steagall and Cianci and make it 13-8 at the end of the seventh.
Transylvania added a run in the eighth to make the score 13-8, but that was all the visitors could muster as their offense really struggled in the latter innings after starting the game hot.
Schlabach battled through the first three innings and then found solid ground, holding the Pioneers hitless over the next three frames as he improved to 1-1 on the season. He allowed seven runs, just four earned, in seven innings without a strikeout or walk. David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) gave up a run in the eighth before Stephenson came on and slammed the door in the ninth.
The bottom of the lineup sparked Bluffton's comeback as the seven, eight and nine hitters combined to go 7-of-11 with nine runs scored. Junior Anthony Cianci was a perfect 3-of-3 with a walk and four runs scored. Airic Steagall finished 3-of-4 with three runs and Matt McKinney came through with a crucial RBI double in the seventh inning and he crossed the dish twice.
Senior hits leader Tyler Stephenson was 2-of-4 with a three-run bomb down the right field line. Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) went 2-of-4 and his single in the second inning gave him hits in six straight trips to the plate after a 5-for-5 showing at Defiance on Tuesday. Miles Richardson and Tyler Wright both tallied two hits as each starter reached safely in the 13-8 win over Transy.
Bluffton and Transylvania will wrap up the series with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 7. The first contest is slated for 12 p.m. at Memorial Field.