Bluffton rallies for split with Oberlin
Bluffton scores three in final inning for split with Oberlin
April 1, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team split a non-conference doubleheader with Oberlin College on a cold and windy afternoon in Bluffton. After control issues caused Bluffton to fall in game one, 18-8, the Beavers rallied with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take game two by a score of 3-2.
Mark Hadaya (Beavercreek) was the starting pitcher in game one for Bluffton, getting off to a good start and keeping the Yeomen off the scoreboard until the third inning. The senior righty (1-1), who took the loss after struggling in the middle frames, finished with 4.1 innings pitched, allowing 10 hits and eight earned runs while striking out three.
After falling behind 3-0 going into the bottom of the third, a one-out triple by Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) followed with an RBI single for Greg Franks (Smithville) cut the lead to two heading to the fourth.
Bluffton dug a huge hole going into the bottom of the fifth, trailing 12-1. With the bases loaded and one out, Franks smacked an RBI single. The Beavers continued their rally with two outs, highlighted by a three-run double off the bat of T.J. Devore (Grove City). An RBI single for Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) capped the scoring for the inning, as Bluffton cut the Oberlin lead to six.
The Yeomen built what turned out to be an insurmountable spread going into the bottom of the seventh at 18-6, but Bluffton did not give up thanks to some hungry pinch hitters. Michael Alexander (Monroe) and Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln) poked back-to-back singles with one out, with Alexander coming around to score on a wild pitch. An Aaron Young (Shelby) double plated Spalding but that was the end of the scoring though, as the Beavers were unable to mount a comeback in the first game.
Game two would be an entirely different story than the lidlifter as it was dominated by strong pitching. Freshman Hunter Ewing (Loveland) made the Oberlin hitters look foolish, striking out 10 batters, which tied him for second on the all-time list for strikeouts by a Bluffton pitcher in a single game, doing so in just a seven-inning game. At one point he had retired six batters in a row via the strikeout, mixing up pitches well and keeping the Yeomen off-balance at the plate. Ewing (2-0) finished with a complete game (7 innings), scattering six hits and two runs, only one earned.
Offensively, game two was a relatively quiet one for the Beavers after Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) opened up the contest with a single in the bottom of the first. Bluffton was not able to score until the bottom of the seventh, when they finally came through in a big way.
The final inning would open up the right way for the Beavers with Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale) lacing a single into right center. With one out and runners on first and second, Niermann hit an RBI single to center, plating Paullin to cut the lead to just one. The hero for the game would be Richardson who stepped up to the plate and singled to left, scoring Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) and Niermann when the leftfielder was unable to come up with the ball.
HCAC Hitter of the Week Kyle Niermann led the Beavers' offensive attack on the day, getting five hits in the doubleheader and raising his average to .432 on the year. Townley had three hits, while Paullin, Richardson, Franks and Devore each chipped in two.
Following the doubleheader split, Bluffton moved to 12-8 on the year while Oberlin went to 9-9. The Beavers will be back in action on Tuesday, April 2, when they hit the road to take on rival Defiance. The Heartland Conference contest is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. at Craig A. Rutter Field in Defiance.