Franklin 4, Bluffton 2
Franklin opens Heartland Conference series with 4-2 win over Beavers
April 5, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team was unable to get its offense ignited as Franklin College held off the Beavers 4-2 on Friday, April 5, in the opener of a three-game set with the Grizzlies. Bluffton slipped to 12-10 overall and 3-5 in the Heartland Conference, while Franklin improved to 10-11 and 3-5 in the HCAC.
After three scoreless frames to open the game, Franklin needed just one single to put two runs on the board in the top of the third. Nick Stoia led off with a base hit to center before Jesse Wilson drew a four-pitch walk. A sacrife bunt that Zach Osowski nearly beat out put both runners in scoring position. With the infield in, Braden Pelley's ground ball got past Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale), allowing both runs to score for a 2-0 lead.
The Grizzlies made it 3-0 an inning later when Jarrett Johnson singled and came around to score on Jameson Brock's RBI groundout.
Bluffton finally put some pressure on the visitors in the home half of the seventh, scoring two runs and having men at the corners before a pickoff at first ended the threat. Doug Paullin walked and Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) was hit by a pitch to open the frame. Coach Grandey called on junior David Ianiro (Highland Heights) to move the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but after two foul balls, Ianiro loaded the bases when he atoned with a single up the middle. Miles Richardson's (Granville/Newark Catholic) infield hit plated Paullin and Greg Franks (Smithville) picked up Castro with his fielder's choice to shortstop. With Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) at the plate and looking to add to his 2-of-2 afternoon, a pickoff ended the opportunity.
Franklin squeezed an insurance run across the plate in the eighth to make the score 4-2. Webb opened the bottom of the inning with a double and the Beavers had the bags full with two outs, but Chris Hoopingarner, who went the distance while throwing 145 pitches, retired four straight batters to end the game.
Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) Kept Bluffton in the game, allowing just four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 7.1 innings of work. He struck out four and walked four on 113 pitches.
Tim Webb was a perfect 3-of-3 at the dish, while Miles Richardson and David Ianiro were the only other Beavers to record hits, both with two safeties. Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) needs just two hits to eclispe Tyler Stephenson for the top spot on the all-time hits list. Stephenson's Bluffton mark is 215 hits.
Bluffton will regroup tonight and get ready for a pair of games with the Grizzlies on Saturday, April 6. The first contest at Memorial Field is slated for 12 p.m.