Bluffton opens series with two wins at MSJ
Beavers improve to 16-12 with pair of wins at Mount St. Joseph
April 13, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
CINCINNATI, Ohio - On a day when the Bluffton University baseball team continued its offensive success, a couple of complete games by the starting pitchers stole the show. The Beavers hurlers allowed no earned runs in a doubleheader sweep of the College of Mount St. Joseph at the University of Cincinnati on Saturday, April 13.
Bluffton broke a tie and scored in four consecutive innings en route to a game one win by a score of 7-1 while sheer dominance early in game two led the Beavers to a comfortable 9-0 shutout victory. The two Beaver wins assures Bluffton of its first-ever series victory over MSJ which led the all-time series 37-9 heading into 2013, including 15 wins in the last 16 meetings.
Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) was the starter in the first game, completely shutting down the Lions after allowing an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning. After the Beavers took control, he kept Mount St. Joseph at bay, not allowing a runner past second base after the sixth inning. Simonds (4-3) finished with a complete game three-hitter, allowing just the one unearned run while striking out three.
Bluffton got on the board early in game one, striking right away in the top of the first. Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) got things going the right way, hitting a single to lead off. After advancing to second on a failed pickoff attempt and moving over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast), Richardson made it 1-0 on an RBI groundout by Kyle Niermann (Napoleon).
The Lions tied up the score in the bottom of the second thanks to a Bluffton error, but the Beavers were unfazed, scoring in each of the next four frames. In the top of the third, Bluffton put up a couple runs on a two-RBI single by Greg Franks (Smithville). Cianci and Niermann crossed the plate on the base hit.
Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) led off the top of the fourth with a single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg). Jeff Roth's (Bellevue) single to right field put runners on the corners for Richardson who singled home Townley.
The Beavers added on two more runs in the fifth innings thanks to two sacrifice fly balls coming off the bats of David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) and Castro, making the score 6-1.
Bluffton plated one more insurance run in the sixth inning, starting with a double by Richardson to lead off the inning. He would come around to score on another RBI groundout for Niermann. That run pushed the lead to 7-1, which turned out to be the game's final score..
Following his own record-breaking performance last week against Franklin and Simonds' stellar outing in game one, it did not seem likely that junior Ben Roeschley (Graymont, Ill./Flanagan) could top them, but he did just that, throwing a complete-game shutout in game two of the series. He kept MSJ's hitters off balance the entire game, not allowing a runner to third base until the eighth inning. Roeschley (4-2) was given a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch and he took full advantage of his backing. He finished with the complete game, scattering five hits while not allowing a run and striking out five.
The Bluffton offense got off to a red-hot start in game two, opening with a single by Richardson. Following a strikeout and a Lion error, Niermann drove in Richardson with a single to left field. After Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) grounded a ball through the right side on a hit-and-run for a single, Niermann came around to score on a wild pitch by the Mount starter. Franks followed with a single of his own before Ianiro delivered an RBI base knock to center field which scored Webb. A sacrifice fly by Townley rounded out the scoring in the top of the first, giving the Beavers a 4-0 lead before their defense even had to take the field.
A two-out double by Cianci ignited a rally for Bluffton in the top of the second. Niermann just missed out on a home run, crushing an RBI triple off of the right field wall. Webb promptly continued the offensive attack with an RBI single to give the Beavers a six-run lead.
After the early game offensive explosion, Bluffton's bats went dormant until the sixth inning when they struck again. A flyout to lead off the inning was not a sign of things to come as the next three Beaver hitters reached base. It started with a single for Roth and Richardson was hit by a pitch before Cianci reached on catcher's interference. That set things up perfectly for Niermann who doubled to left center, driving in two more runs.
The Beavers added on an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to an RBI hit by pitch for Richardson. That would be it for Bluffton's scoring, as they coasted to a 9-0 victory.
Niermann, who has found the three-hole to his liking, led the Bluffton offense once again, going 5-for-9 in the doubleheader while driving in six runs. Roth had four hits in the two games and Richardson, who drove in two, did as well.
Following the pair of wins, Bluffton improved to 16-12 on the season with a 7-6 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Mount St. Joseph fell to 6-18 overall, 2-10 in the HCAC. These two teams will meet again on Sunday, April 13 in the third game of the conference series. That contest will begin at noon at Marge Schott Stadium in Cincinnati.