Bluffton 9, Hanover 6
March 27, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team built an early 6-0 lead and withstood a Panther rally that saw Hanover knot the score at six after six innings but the Beavers responded with three late tallies for a 9-6 win on Friday, March 27, 2015. Bluffton stays perfect atop the HCAC at 5-0 (12-5 overall), while host Hanover dipped to 7-7 and 3-3 in the conference.
Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) continued his torrid hitting, launching a three-run bomb to left in the first inning following a Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) single and a walk to Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg). Spalding and Castro added to the lead with RBI's an inning later for a 5-0 advantage midway through frame two.
Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) tripled in the fourth and he scampered home on Spalding's sacrifice fly to right for a 6-0 lead.
Hanover found its stroke in the bottom of the inning when the Panthers rallied for five runs on five hits, making the score 6-5. The home team took advantage of a leadoff double in the sixth as Hanover knotted the score with three frames to play.
Saturday's hero T.J. Devore (Grove City) came up big again when he singled home Mike Castro in the top of the seventh. Jeff Roth (Bellevue) picked up Townley before an inning-ending double play kept the Beavers from going up by three scores. A bases-loaded walk to Devore an inning later pushed the lead to 9-6 and Austin Prosser (Galion) worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to nail down his third save of the season.
Hickey went 4-of-6 with two runs scored from his leadoff position, setting the table for the meat of Bluffton's lineup. Spalding finished 3-of-5 with two RBI, while Jake Townley went 2-of-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Castro and Roth chipped in with two safeties apiece.
Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) improved to 4-1 with a solid six-inning effort on the mound. He gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout. Taylor Gambrell (Bowling Green) tossed two innings of superb relief for the hold and Prosser faced just four batters in the ninth to secure the save.
Bluffton picks up where it left off tomorrow when the series resumes in Hanover at 12 p.m. A doubleheader with the Panthers is on tap with the final clash of the series to start at approximately 3 p.m.