Bluffton opens season with two wins
Bluffton opens 2011 with 2-1 walkoff over Marietta
March 7, 2011
KISSIMMEE, Florida - The Bluffton University softball team took advantage of a superb outing in the circle by sophomore Stevie Cuttitta (Columbiaville, Mich./Clio) when freshman Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.) stroked a walkoff single to right with two down and the bases jammed in the bottom of the seventh. The Beavers stand 1-0, while Marietta slipped to 1-2 following the 2-1 pitching duel.
Cuttitta allowed just one baserunner through the first three frames before a Bluffton error and Michelle Sayre RBI two-bagger down the left field line in the top of the fourth made it 1-0 in favor of Marietta.
Emily Manahan (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) led off the home half of the fifth with a double over the centerfielder's head. A Pioneer error put runners at the corners before Meagan Price (Toledo/Springfield) took second as Manahan stole home, knotting the game at one.
A one-out triple in the sixth and a Bluffton error in the seventh did not faze Cuttitta as she took advantage of a rundown and a caught stealing by Meagan Price to keep the game at one apiece going to the bottom of the seventh. A pair of one-out Marietta miscues followed by a free pass to Cuttitta loaded the sacks for Natalie Nikitas who looped a game-ending single into shallow right field for the win.
Bluffton managed just four hits against Marietta ace Chelsea Chaffin who gave up two runs, neither earned. Cuttitta was in mid-season form, allowing only two hits and one unearned run in seven innings. She struck out six and allowed one free pass. Manahan scored both runs in the Bluffton victory while Nikitas drove in the game-winner.
Ashley Manusos (Spring Grove, Ill./McHenry Community East) led off game two with a double to right field. Tiffany Buckmaster (Lima/Bath) followed with an infield single and moved to second, putting both runners in scoring position. One out later, Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) made it 2-0 with her two-bagger to wall in left center. Kristin Agauas (Bloomfield Hills/Andover) picked up an RBI with her fielder's choice in the top of the second.
Agauas breezed through the first three innings, fanning six while allowing two runs. Misericordia took advantage of four walks and three wild pitches to trim the deficit to 3-2 after four frames. The Cougars took a 4-3 lead thanks to a two-run Nicole Wenner bomb to right center an inning later.
The Beavers immediately responded with four runs on three hits and two Misericordia errors in the top of the sixth. Buckmaster delivered an RBI single down the left field line and Wade followed a walk to Chelsie Osborne (Chillicothe/Waverly) with a run-scoring base hit to left center.
The Cougars added a tally in the bottom of the seventh, but Stevie Cuttitta closed the door for a 7-5 victory and 2-0 start to the season.
Ashley Manusos scorched the Cougars, going 4-of-5 with three doubles and two runs scored. Buckmaster, Wade and Price all spanked multiple safeties for the Beavers. Buckmaster scored twice and Wade knocked in three runs.
Agauas finished with seven strikeouts but did not figure in the decision. Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) improved to 1-0 and Cuttitta nailed down a save with four K's over the final two innings.
Bluffton takes to the field at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 8, when the Beavers meet Bridgewater.