MSJ takes two at Bluffton
Mt. St. Joseph takes first two games at Bluffton
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
March 27, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team hosted HCAC foe Mt. St. Joseph on Friday, March 27, in a double header that ended in two Lion victories, 5-4 and 9-6. The Beavers fell to 8-10 this season and 3-3 in the Heartland Conference, while the Lions improved to 3-3 in the conference and 10-8 overall.
After a shaky first inning in which MSJ used four hits and an error to plate four runs, the Beavers buckled down in the bottom of the first. Corey Conn (London) was hit by a pitch before a Cody McPherson (Northwood/Millbury Lake) double down the left line. The two-bagger, coupled with a bad hop on the ensuing throw, allowed Conn to score the Beavers' first run of the game.
The Beavers didn't put any more runs on the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth when freshman Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) singled up the middle. Bluffton catcher Stephen Torres (Lima/Juan Diego) doubled to right center, giving Stephenson the green light for home. Curtis Schroeder (Shelby) took first on a hit by pitch and jetted to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by senior outfielder Chris Bauman (Milford). Torres scored and Schroeder moved to third on a Nick Broyles' (Toledo/Whitmer) groundout.
The Lions' offense tallied their fifth run in the top of the seventh before the Beavers had their final trip to the plate in the bottom of the frame. Schroeder ripped the ball to left field and took second when Broyles singled up the middle. A throwing error resulted in Schroeder's race to home plate, but Mt. St. Joseph had just enough left in the tank as MSJ held on for the win over Bluffton, 5-4.
Cody McPherson threw all seven innings of the first matchup, limiting the Lions to one walk, nine hits, and five runs, three earned.
Stephen Torres went 2-for-3 while McPherson had two hits in his four appearances at the plate. Torres and Nick Broyles each had one RBI in the contest as the Beavers finished with 10 hits, but it was the 12 runners left stranded that proved to be the difference in a one-run game.
After two scoreless frames by both teams to start game two, Mt. St. Joseph produced two runs in the top of the third. In the bottom of the inning, Brett Howard (Toledo/St. Francis DeSales) drew a one-out walk. Howard stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Nick Broyles also walked and he moved up a base thanks to a bunt by senior outfielder Mike Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern). Both Howard and Broyles crossed the plate when Corey Conn singled through the right side.
The Lions' offense turned up the heat in the fourth inning with five hits and five runs. The Beavers responded in the sixth with a run as Curtis Schroeder doubled to left center, and then came around to score following a single from Chris Bauman.
In the bottom of the seventh, Conn singled down the left field line and advanced to second on a hit by Cody McPherson. Tyler Stephenson ripped a single, sending Conn home and McPherson to second. Pinch hitter David Riddle (Loveland/Milford) singled down the right line, plating McPherson to cut the deficit to 7-5.
The Beavers scored their last run in the eighth as Howard stroked a single to left center. Broyles took first on a fielder's choice, but a throwing error by the Lions allowed Howard to take second. Conn then ripped a base knock through the right side and picked up the RBI as Howard scored the final Beaver run in their 9-6 loss to Mt. St. Joseph.
Freshman pitcher Ryan Leugers (Botkins) fell to 2-2 on the year after giving up eight hits and seven runs in just 3.1 innings on the mound. Mt. St. Joseph was held to four hits and one run as James Hausman (Milford) worked 4.1 innings of solid relief. Nathan Blanton (Cincinnati/LaSalle) closed the game, limiting the Lions to two hits and one run.
Corey Conn went 3-of-4 in the contest with three RBI, while both Cody McPherson and Curtis Schroeder smacked two hits. Brett Howard crossed the plate twice, while Conn, McPherson, Schroeder, and Nick Broyles each scored one run.
Bluffton returns to action when the Beavers host Mt. St. Joseph on Saturday, March 28, in the final game of the Heartland Conference series. The contest is slated for 12 p.m. at Memorial Field.