Anderson 6, Bluffton 5
Bluffton rally falls just short in 6-5 loss to Anderson
March 22, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team opened up conference play on Friday, March 22, 2013, against Anderson University in a tough battle between the two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foes. Bluffton mounted a four-run comeback late in the game, but it was not enough as the Ravens held on for the 6-5 victory.
Sophomore Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) had the start yet again for the Beavers, shutting down the Anderson hitters early while retiring the first seven batters of the game. He then encountered some control issues, walking three consecutive batters. A couple hits following the free passes added up to four runs for Anderson. Simonds (2-2) took the loss, going six innings and giving up just five hits while striking out three.
Brad Schlabach (Fredericksburg/Hiland) came on in relief for Bluffton, providing some outstanding pitching out of the bullpen. Schlabach went three innings, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out one batter.
Bluffton struck first in the game, getting on the board in the bottom of the first inning. A one-out double by Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) followed by a Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) sacrifice fly put the Beavers ahead, 1-0.
After scoring early, Bluffton's offense went dormant until the final frame. Trailing 6-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Beavers began their comeback with three consecutive one-out walks. Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) then crushed a two-run double to deep right field, scoring Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) and Matt Calhoun (Bonita Springs Fla./South Fort Myers). Following a Bluffton strikeout, a walk for Richardson set up T.J. Devore (Grove City) who plated two more runs which cut the deficit to just one tally. That would be where the rally ended though as a fielder's choice to shortstop capped the game.
Niermann and Devore led the Beaver offense on the day, both finishing with two RBI. Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) and David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) both collected two walks in the game.
Bluffton fell to 8-4 on the season and 0-1 in HCAC play, while Anderson goes to 5-7 on the year and 1-0 in Heartland Conference action. These two foes will face off again Saturday in a doubleheader. Game one of the twinbill is slated to start at noon on Bluffton's Memorial Field.