Beavers continue to roll with sweep of Defiance
April 6, 2015
By: Ryan Ebbeskotte, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team hosted rival Defiance College on Monday, April 6, and swept the Yellow Jackets, as the Beavers came away with two victories with the threat of a downpour looming. It marked the fourth convincing sweep for Coach Bruder's squad in the last six days! Bluffton improves to 17-12 on the season and 4-2 in the HCAC, while Defiance stands at 5-17 and 1-7 in the HCAC.
A combination of outstanding pitching by senior CHLOE SHELL (Covington), who improved to 8-4 on the season, and stellar defense led the way in the first game as the home team held the Yellow Jackets to just two hits, a bunt single and a two-out double in the seventh. The Beavers came away with a run in the bottom of the first after JESS KUZARA (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) doubled and JOSIE MCELROY (Western Brown) picked her up with an RBI single to take a 1-0 lead.
Bluffton added three more runs in the bottom of the third thanks to singles by ARIANA MUFFO (New Athens) and BRITTANY BAKER (Springboro). McElroy reached on a fielder's choice scoring Muffo before CARLY LEVINDOFSKE (Rocky River/Magnificat) plated Baker and McElroy with a two-run double to the right field wall, giving Bluffton a 4-0 advantage.
The lead ballooned in the sixth inning after solo home runs by BRITTANY HUFF (Northmont) and ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta). The Beavers tacked on another run after Muffo drew a walk and Baker drove her home with an RBI double to end the game, 7-0.
Shell walked two and allowed two hits while facing just two batters over the minimum (23) thanks to double plays by the home team in each of the first two frames. Baker went 3-of-4, while Muffo and Kuzara both added two safeties. McElroy and Levindofske drove in two runs apiece while Muffo scored twice.
In the nightcap, Defiance took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an unearned Defiance tally, but the Beavers used a seven-run, seven-hit fourth inning to salt away the victory.
After three scoreless Bluffton frames, McElroy led off with a double to the left center gap and Levindofske followed with a single. JESSIE MADZIA (Tuslaw) loaded the bases with a beautiful bunt single as nobody covered the bag at first. Huff and JO BONDRA (Highland Heights/Mayfield) would both come through with base knocks that plated two runs each. Knippen got in on the action with a single of her own and Muffo chipped in with a sacrifice fly. Kuzara followed with a two-run bomb (her 7th of the season and sixth in the last week) to put Bluffton in front 7-1.
The Yellow Jackets added a run in the top of the fifth, but the Beavers responded with three of their own before Defiance could record an out. Levindofske walked and Madzia reached on a fielding error to open the frame. With two on, Huff got a hold of one and sent it to deep center field for a three-run no-doubter to end the game, 10-2, in mercy-rule fashion.
Madzia was excellent on the mound for Bluffton as she struck out six and allowed no earned runs in five innings of work to boost her record to 6-5 on the season. Brittany Huff powered the Bluffton offense, going 3-of-3 with five RBI and two runs scored. Madzia scored a pair of runs to help her own cause. Kuzara and Bondra drove in two runs apiece.
Bluffton University travels to the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 11, with the first game scheduled for 1 PM.