Beavers sweep Franklin on Strikeout Cancer Day
April 18, 2015
BLUFFTON, Ohio - It was a beautiful spring day to "Strikeout Cancer" as the Bluffton University softball team hosted the Franklin College Grizzlies on Saturday, April 18, for a crucial conference doubleheader, while raising cancer awareness. The Beavers swept the Grizzlies to improve to 21-14 on the season and 8-4 in the HCAC, while Franklin stands at 17-13 and 4-8 in the HCAC. Bluffton won game one, 6-0, and game two, 7-2.
In the lidlifter, Bluffton combined great pitching/defense with effective offense. After holding the Grizzlies scoreless in the first, a trend that would continue for the entire game, the Beavers got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta) tripled to the right center gap and trotted home on a JESS KUZARA (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) single. MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (River Valley) doubled, plating Kuzara before the inning would end with Bluffton on top, 2-0.
In the bottom of the second, BRITTANY BAKER (Springboro) opened with a single and BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) followed with a base knock of her own. ARIANA MUFFO (New Athens, Ill.) came through with an RBI single and moved up 60 feet on the throw. Knippen added to the runs total with an RBI single. A fly ball and groundout would end the second inning with Bluffton ahead, 4-0.
Bluffton would get more run support in the fourth inning thanks to a solo home run by Huff. They would follow that up in the fifth inning with another tally. Schmidt singled and stole second before CARLY LEVINDOFSKE (Rocky River/Magnificat) picked her up with an RBI single to put the Beavers up 6-0 which held for the final score.
CHLOE SHELL (Covington) was on the mound in the first matchup, going seven innings strong, giving up only three hits and striking out two. She improved to 10-5 on the season.
Huff paced the offense with her sixth homer of the season, going 3-of-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Schmidt and Knippen both chipped in with two safeties.
In the second game, Franklin would score an unearned run in the first and another run in the second inning for a 2-0 spread heading into the bottom of the third.
In the bottom of the third, the Bluffton bats would get going. Baker led off with a double and Huff hit her second home run of the day to tie the game, 2-2. The Grizzlies would hold Bluffton scoreless the rest of the inning, but the home bats got hot again in the bottom of the fifth.
Baker would be hit by a pitch and ABIGAIL BLAKE (Lancaster/Fairfield Union) took her place at first as a pinch runner. Blake advanced to second on a wild pitch. Huff's single put runners on the corners for senior JO BONDRA (Highland Heights/Mayfield) who cashed in with a RBI double down the right field line. That was followed up with a two-run single by Huff, making the score 5-2.
In the bottom half of the sixth, Schmidt led off with a single and moved up on a throwing error after a fielders choice by Levindofske. Both runners advanced thanks to a wild pitch and, with runners in scoring position, Huff came through again with a two-RBI single. A double ended the inning and Bluffton held Franklin scoreless in the seventh to win the series clincher, 7-2
JESSIE MADZIA (Massillon/Tuslaw) started for the Beavers in game two, but would be replaced by Shell after Franklin scored two early runs. Shell would finish off the game by striking out two and giving up only two hits to improve to 11-5 on the season. She fired 12 scoreless frames, limiting the Grizzlies to five hits with four strikeouts and what was even more impressive, just two walks.
Brittany Huff would end the day going a perfect 6-for-6 at the plate, including two home runs, with five RBIs. Ashley Knippen went 4-of-7 with three RBIs.
Bluffton University hosts the Manchester University Spartans for Senior Day on Wednesday, April 22, with the first game scheduled for 3:30 p.m.