Bluffton vs. Mt. St. Joseph (3-31-07)
Beavers rally in extra innings for first win of year against Mt. St. Joseph
March 31, 2007
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team gave Mt. St. Joseph all it wanted as the Beavers split with the Lions on Saturday, March 31, picking up their first win of the season. In the first game, the Beavers used late game freshmen heroics to pull out a 7-6 victory in nine innings. After leading 4-0 in game two, Bluffton dropped to 1-2 on the season with its 7-6 loss to the Lions.
Game 1 - Bluffton 7, Mt. St. Joseph 6 (9 innings)
After three quick innings to open up the first game, the Beavers pushed three runs across the plate in the fourth. Junior captain Ryan Baightel (Wapakoneta/Wapakoneta) singled through the right side and moved to second on a passed ball. He slid into third ahead of the tag on Austin Grey's (Lewisberg/Tri-County North) sacrifice bunt, putting runners at the corners with no outs. Corey Conn (London/London) gave the Beavers a 1-0 lead with his single to right before a passed ball moved both Conn and Grey into scoring position. A walk to Jimmy McMonagle (Ida, Mich./Ida) loaded the bases and with two outs, freshman Brett Hunt (Bucyrus/Bucyrus) picked up Conn and Grey for a 3-0 lead.
Mt. St. Joseph took advantage of four hits and a pair of Blufton errors to paste a five-run inning on the Beavers in the sixth. With runners on second and third, the Mount hit consecutive grounders to second base to close the gap to one run. An error and a passed ball allowed the Lions to plate three more runs in the inning, taking a 5-3 lead midway through the sixth.
The Beavers answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to knot the score at five heading to the seventh inning. Conn opened the sixth with a double down the left field line. McMonagle reached on an error and stole second, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. A Greg Sigg (Maumee/Maumee) single followed by an error on the pickup allowed both Conn and McMonagle to cross the plate.
An uneventful seventh forced the contest into extra innings. Despite two singles sandwiched around a free pass to start the top of the eighth, Bluffton limited the Lions to a single run. Tony Moore's (Elida/Elida) RBI single tied the contest at six.
After Tyler Hill (London/London) shut down the Lions in the top of the ninth, Corey Conn reached base on a throwing error to start the bottom of the frame. McMonagle moved him to second with his sacrifice bunt. Cody McPherson (Northwood/Lake) drew a one-out walk and freshman Brennan Bauman (Milford/Milford) smoked a single into left field, plating Conn for the Beavers first win of the 2007 season, 7-6.
Conn and Hunt both finished with two hits in game one. Hunt drove in two runs and Conn scored three times for the Beavers. Sophomore Matt Perkins (Convoy/Crestview) went five innings and gave up five runs on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Hill (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth with one strikeout for the victory.
Game 2 - Mt. St. Joseph 7, Bluffton 6
Bluffton jumped out to a one-run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Hunt doubled down the left field line and crossed the plate on a Chris Wurm (Bucyrus/Bucyrus) RBI single up the middle.
With the bases loaded and only one out, freshman David Riddle (Milford/Milford) picked up both Sigg and McMonagle on a shot up the middle. Moore gave the Beavers a 4-0 lead when his RBI single plated Wurm.
The Lions picked up a run in the fifth inning after MSJ's coach argued the third out of the inning at first base and the home plate umpire reversed the call, allowing the Mount to score their first run of the game.
A pair of walks and one hit led to three more MSJ runs in the top of the sixth, setting the stage for another exciting finish.
The Lions took control with three runs on two hits and an error in the top of the seventh, but the Beavers stormed back and made a game of it in the bottom half of the inning. Baightel started the rally when he reached on an infield error. Conn doubled to left center, cutting the deficit to two runs. A Curtis Schroeder (Shelby/Shelby) single to right moved Conn to third and McMonagle followed with a walk to load the bases. The Lions hit Bauman to force in Conn, but MSJ induced Riddle into a game-ending flyout as Mt. St. Joseph held on for the dramatic 7-6 victory in the rubber match.
Schroeder, who moved into the designated hitter slot for the final game of the series, was 2-of-4 for the Beavers. Riddle picked up two RBI's in his first start behind the plate. James Hausman (Milford/Milford) gave up four runs on four hits in 5.1 innings of work on the hill.
Bluffton returns to action on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, when it travels to face HCAC pre-season favorite Manchester College at 4:15 p.m.