Bluffton opens 2011 with win over Case
Beavers take season opener 8-4 over Case Reserve
February 26, 2011
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team opened its 2011 campaign with an 8-4 victory over Case Reserve at the Chillicothe VA Memorial Field on a cool Saturday, February 26, 2011. The Beavers used a six-run sixth to punish the Spartans in the opener. Wabash College took advantage of timely hitting and outstanding pitching to shut out Bluffton in the Beavers' second game of the season.
A Stephenson sacrifice lineout to center knotted the game in the top of the third when Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) crossed the plate.
The Spartans put two runs on the board in the fifth when Chris Mullins parked a two-run shot over the wall in right field for a 4-2 lead. Bluffton wasted no time formulating a response as the Beavers piled on six tallies in the top of the sixth. Josh Runda's (Lima/Bath) bases loaded walk sent Stephenson across the dish before nine-hole hitter Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) cleared the bags with a grand slam. Kyle Trainer (Mechanicsburg) made it 8-4 when he came around thanks to a Case error.
Three Bluffton relievers did the job over the final four frames to give the Beavers an 8-4 victory over the Spartans. Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Christian) picked up the win, tossing five innings of six-hit ball. He fanned five and walked just two first inning batters, while allowing six hits. Adrian Fritch (Edon) worked around a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to close it out for Bluffton.
Richardson went 2-of-4 with four RBI. Stephenson, Tyler Wright (Troy) and Greg Bergstedt (Napoleon/Patrick Henry) all finished with two safeties while Stephenson drove in two runs.
The Bluffton offense hit it hard all afternoon, but the Beavers were unable to find any holes as Wabash kept Bluffton off the board and added three runs late in the game for a 6-0 victory.
Andrew Swart threw seven innings of shutout ball to pick up the win for Wabash. Niermann rapped a pair of hits, extending his hitting streak to 19 consecutive games, while Matt McKinney (Columbus Grove/Bath) and Trainer both spanked two-baggers. Nick Rodesky (Bowling Green) took the loss despite throwing five innings of three-hit ball. He gave up three runs and struck out four.
Bluffton will next take to the field on Sunday, March 6, when the Beavers face John Jay at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida. The contest is slated for 9 a.m.