Bluffton 19, MSJ 7 (10 innings)
Beavers score 12 in the 10th for 19-7 win and sweep at MSJ
April 14, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team may have been away from the friendly confines of Memorial Field this weekend, but they looked right at home in Cincinnati, finishing off a three-game sweep of Mount St. Joseph on Sunday afternoon by a score of 19-7 in 10 innings. The Beavers squandered an early lead, but came back to tie it in the ninth and blew things open with 12 runs in the 10th for a big victory.
Todd Stover (Tipp City/Tippecanoe) was the starting pitcher for the final game of the series, turning in a pedestrian performance in comparison to his starts earlier in the season. He was strong for the majority of the game but struggled in the fourth inning, giving up five runs to the Lions. Stover (0-1) worked 6.1 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs, six earned, while striking out two.
Brad Schlabach (Fredericksburg/Hiland) and Hunter Ewing (Loveland) combined for 3.2 innings of scoreless relief with Ewing (3-0) picking up the win.
Bluffton's offense picked up right where it left off on Saturday, scoring in the top of the first. A one-out walk to Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) was followed by a single for Kyle Niermann (Napoleon), putting runners on first and second. Greg Franks (Smithville) delivered the big blow with two outs, driving a double to left-center which plated the two runs for the inning.
The Beavers got another run in the top of the second thanks to an RBI single by Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) which scored Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) who led off the inning with a double.
Bluffton built the lead to four runs in the top of the third with an RBI single by David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield), plating Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian).
After falling behind by two runs going into the top of the fifth, the Beavers would rally back to tie the game up. Despite two outs to open the inning, Bluffton would manufacture two runs off the bat of Townley on a single, scoring Webb and Franks to knot up the score at six.
Things got very interesting from that point on in the game, especially after Mount St. Joseph took a one-run lead in the seventh. Going into the top of the ninth, Bluffton trailed by one and the Beavers were down to their last out before Franks came through in the clutch, stroking an RBI single up the middle to send the game to extra innings.
The top of the 10th would be where Bluffton would break the tie and eventually open the flood gates, pouring it on against the Lion pitchers. The inning opened with Townley reaching on an error by the Lion shortstop, followed by a single for Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg). The scoring took off when Jeff Roth (Bellevue) reached on a fielder's choice bunt, scoring Townley on a throwing error by the first baseman. Following an intentional walk to Richardson, Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale) singled through the right side, scoring Castro while Roth scored on a fielding error on the right fielder for the Lions. The hit parade continued after that when Niermann smacked an RBI single to right field to plate Richardson. After Webb reached base on a catcher's interference call, Franks was the first out in the inning, but in a productive way, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field which picked up Paullin. Ianiro then stepped to the plate and promptly drove a single up the middle to score Niermann. MSJ then swapped pitchers, but that did not faze the Bluffton offense as Townley drove a double down the left field line to score Webb. After Ianiro crossed the dish on a wild pitch, nothing could seem to slow down the Beaver offense as Castro hit a double of his own down the line in left to bring in Townley. Following the second out of the inning, Richardson re-ignited the offense with a single, moving Castro to third base. The next batter was Paullin, who again stroked a single to plate Castro. Rounding out the scoring in the inning was Niermann when he singled to drive in both Richardson and Paullin. In the inning, Bluffton scored 12 runs on nine hits, with four errors committed by the Lion defense.
Franks led the Beaver offensive explosion, going 3-of-4 with four RBI, including what was probably the most important run which tied up the game in the ninth. Niermann was 3-for-6 on the day, capping a terrific weekend and raising his batting average to an HCAC-best .447 on the year. Richardson, Franks, Townley, Ianiro, and Castro all had three hits in the win as well.
With the sweep of MSJ, Bluffton improved to 17-12 overall, including an 8-6 mark in the HCAC. Mount St Joseph fell to 6-19 and 2-11 in conference play. The Beavers are currently tied for third place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and have another big game on Tuesday when they welcome rival Defiance to Memorial Field. The Strike Out Cancer Day contest is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. in Bluffton.