Bluffton opens MSJ series with split
April 4, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team used some flex scheduling to get two games in on Saturday, April 4 as they split a doubleheader at Memorial Field with Mount St. Joseph. The Beavers lost the opener, 16-9, before bouncing back to win the nightcap, 17-8. The split makes the Beavers 15-7 and 8-2 in HCAC play, still sitting atop the Heartland Conference standings. The Lions fell to 8-11 and 3-7 in the HCAC.
The Beavers started quickly, taking a 5-0 lead into the middle of the third inning. The scoring opened with a two-run single by T.J. Devore (Grove City), followed by a Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) solo shot in the second. The Beavers added two more in the third, including another RBI for Spalding on a base knock.
However, MSJ started to turn it around with a three-run triple in the third inning before the cover came off completely in the sixth.The Lions would score nine runs on six hits to blow the game wide open with a 12-5 advantage. The Beavers chipped away with three runs in the seventh and another in the eighth, but Mount’s four runs in the bottom of the eighth sealed the Beavers and their game one fate.
Bluffton’s Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) fell to 4-2 with a loss after giving up nine runs (seven earned) on seven hits on a day where he did not have his best stuff. Taylor Gambrell (Bowling Green) gave up seven runs (four earned) on five hits in 2.1, while Austin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) got the final out. Mount’s Rick Paulinelli (2-1) picked up the game one victory. T.J. Devore led the offense in a big way, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a single and three RBI in the losing effort. Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) added two hits with three runs scored, while Spalding and Mike Castro both came through with two hits as well.
The Beavers responded in a big way to bring home the win, 17-8, in the nightcap. Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) responded from his hitless, four-strikeout game one with a two-run homer in the top of the first to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead. They would add three more in the second and another on Townley’s second homer in as many at bats in the third for a 6-1 advantage.
MSJ pulled within 6-5 in the bottom of three before the Beavers added four more in the fourth to open a 10-5 lead. Mount would get within three runs before Bluffton sealed their redemption in the sixth with a five-run inning for an eight-run advantage that the Lions could never recover from.
Bluffton’s Corey Johnson (Waverly) earned the game two win, giving up a run on four hits in two innings while striking out four Lions. Brad Schlabach (Fredericksburg/Hiland) started the game and gave up seven runs on 10 hits over four innings. Kevin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) earned his first save with three innings of shutout baseball, giving up three hits and striking out two.
T.J. Devore followed up the big game one with another 3-for-4 effort in the nightcap with a triple, two singles, three RBI, and three runs scored. He went 7-of-9 with three extra base hits and six RBI on the afternoon. Townley also finished the nightcap going 2-for-3 with two homers, three RBI and four runs scored. Castro and Randolph added two hits apiece.
The Beavers will wrap up the three-game series back on the road as they head to Mount St Joseph on Monday, April 6 at 12 p.m., which postpones their originally scheduled game with Ohio Northern. The Beavers return home for a big Heartland Conference series next weekend starting Friday, April 10 with the Manchester University Spartans. Come support your Beavers!