Bluffton splits at Anderson
Beavers come away with Saturday split between rain showers at Anderson
April 14, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information intern
ANDERSON, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team saw a 6-1 lead slip away in the first game at Anderson on Saturday, April 14, 2012, as the Ravens took advantage of a five-run fifth en route to an 8-6 victory after two stoppages due to rain. Anderson erased a 4-0 Bluffton lead with seven earned runs in the bottom of the first during game two, but starter Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) came back and put zeroes on the board during the next six innings. Fellow junior Mark Hadaya (Beavercreek) closed it out as the Beavers banged out 18 hits in the 15-7 win over the conference-leading Ravens. Bluffton moved to 14-15 overall and 7-7 in the Heartland Conference, while AU stands 20-9 overall (12-2 HCAC).
After falling behind early in the first game of the series on Friday, the Beavers jumped on the Ravens with a three-run second inning. Airic Steagall (Hillsboro) got things started with a single, moved over to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a groundout. But a clutch two-out single by Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Northwest) pushed home Steagall for the first run of the game. After a base hit by Kyle Niermann (Napoleon), Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) stepped up and hit a big double to plate both base-runners and make the lead 3-0 after the top of the second.
Bluffton came back to the plate in the top of the third and the Beaver bats were still hot. After the first two hitters were retired, Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) rapped a double. And once again the two-out hitting for the Beavers continued as Webb was followed by three straight singles from Steagall, freshman Josh Gullett (Mansfield/Madison) and Cianci that plated another two and made the advantage 5-0 for Bluffton.
The Ravens put up their first run of the game in the bottom of the third and both teams went scoreless in the fourth. Bluffton then added another score in the top of the fifth on an error to give the team a comfortable 6-1 lead. However, that cushion did not last long. Anderson exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth when they knocked around starter Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Toledo Christian) for five runs on seven hits while tying the score at 6-6 tie heading into the sixth and then came the rain.
With two outs in the top half of the sixth, the game was delayed again due to thunder and rain for around an hour and a half and the break really hurt the Beavers. When play resumed, a flyout by Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) ended the top of the sixth. Halen Core (Reynoldsburg), who came on to get the team out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, saw his afternoon come to an end when Ben Roeschley (Graymont IL/Flanagan) took over in the bottom of the sixth. Anderson took advantage of the tough situation and knocked in two runs for an 8-6 lead and Bluffton failed to score in the seventh.
For the second game of the doubleheader, the first inning was a wild one. Bluffton got started right away, loading the bases in the first four batters. After a wild pitch moved the all the runners one bag for a 1-0 lead, hot-hitting Steagall drilled his first triple of the year to score Tyler Wright (Troy) and Tyler Stephenson. A Broyles single picked up Steagall and gave the Beavers a nice 4-0 lead after the top of one.
However, starting pitcher Miles Richardson struggled mightily in the bottom half of the first for his second straight start as he was tagged for seven runs on six hits, including a pair of home runs that put the Ravens back on top 7-4. Coach Grandey's faith paid huge dividends as Richardson settled in and pitched brilliantly over the next six innings.
After Richardson breezed through the second and third innings, the Beaver bats gave him some support and the lead with a four-run top of the fourth. Webb led off with a double and Broyles followed with a single to make it first and third. Kevin Martin (Bryan) then hit into a fielder's choice, sending home Webb for the first run. After a catcher's interference call put runners on first and second, three straight RBI singles by Niermann , Richardson and Stephenson put Bluffton back on top, 8-7.
As Richardson continued to dominate on the mound, the offense was not finished either as the visitors again came up huge with another big inning, scoring five more in the top of the sixth. The inning was fueled by a three-run blast from all-time hits leader Tyler Stephenson for his second dinger of the season. That bomb was followed up by a single from Wright and a double by Steagall. After a balk pushed home Wright for the fourth run of the inning, an RBI groundout by Webb plated Steagall to make it 13-7 Beavers. Bluffton then tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to put the game away as the team grabbed a 15-7 victory.
The Beaver bats really came through as they produced 18 hits, including four players who each tallied three safeties. Niermann (three runs and two RBI) and Stephenson (five RBI and two runs) had the best production in the victory. For the day, Steagall and Richardson also had great outings at the plate as the both went 5-for-10. Tyler Stephenson needs just one safety to reach career hit number 200 when the Beavers host Defiance on Tuesday afternoon.
Richardson got it together after the first and grabbed the win, improving to 4-4 on the season. He dug deep and came through with a great performance over his next six innings, allowing no runs on a mere two hits to go seven strong while also striking out six. Mark Hadaya (Beavercreek) came on in relief and put up two scoreless frames to close out the game.
The Beavers return to Memorial Field for a nine-inning affair with arch-rival Defiance on Tuesday, April 17. The Strike Out Cancer contest is set to start at 4:15 PM.