Earlham 7, Bluffton 6
April 7, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Beavers fought back to a 6-6 tie after falling behind 5-1 in the fourth, but host Earlham put single runs on the scoreboard in the fifth and sixth to create a first place logjam in the Heartland Conference thanks to a 7-6 victory over the Beavers on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Bluffton fell to 15-9 overall and 8-4 in the HCAC following its third loss in the last four games. Earlham improved to 18-5 and 8-4 in the conference. Earlham and Bluffton were joined at the top of the HCAC by an Anderson club that pitched a 7-0 shutout of Rose-Hulman on Tuesday afternoon.
Both pitchers breezed through the first three innings before they began to break down. Bluffton’s Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) scored on an error in the top of the fourth for a 1-0 lead, but the Quakers dropped a five spot in the bottom half to take a seemingly comfortable lead. Bluffton added two runs in the fifth on a Castro sacrifice fly and then an RBI single from T.J. Devore (Grove City). The Beavers knotted it with three more in the sixth on a two-run triple by Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) and a run-scoring double from Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer). The Quakers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth and wouldn’t surrender another run in their 7-6 victory.
Bluffton starter Kevin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) threw four innings, giving up five runs on four hits, while walking five Quakers and striking out three. Austin Prosser (Galion) took the loss, falling to 1-3 after giving up two runs on four hits. Austin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) tossed 2.1 innings of hitless relief, striking out two in an impressive outing.
Garrett York earned the win for Earlham to improve to 3-0, while Matt Brankle picked up his fifth save of the season. A grand slam by Devin Spurgon in the fourth was the big blow for the Quakers.
The Beaver offense was led by Tyler Spalding who finished the game 3-for-5 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored. Senior Michael Alexander (Monroe) also went 3-for-5 with a triple and a run scored. T.J. Devore finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. Jeff Roth (Bellevue) was 2-for-3 and scored a run in the loss.
Bluffton returns to HCAC play with a big three-game set this weekend against the 2014 regular-season champion Manchester University Spartans at Memorial Field. The first game is slated for 4:15 p.m. on Friday, April 10 with a doubleheader on tap for Saturday, April 11 at 12 p.m. Come support your Beavers!