Bluffton opens with split at Transylvania
Kyle Niermann scorches Pioneers with 6-of-7 day at the plate
April 20, 2013
By: Kyle Stover, sports information assistant
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Bluffton University baseball team split a crucial conference doubleheader with Transylvania on Saturday, April 20. Errors were the story in game one when the Beavers fell 5-1, but they rebounded with some clutch hitting in game two to win 6-4 while staying in the race for the HCAC tournament.
Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) was the starting pitcher in game one, turning in a solid performance but still taking the loss. He did not allow an earned run during his time on the hill, but five unearned runs crossed the plate due to some untimely errors by the Bluffton defense. Simonds (4-4) finished with six innings pitched, gave up six hits and five runs, none earned, and struck out two.
Senior Mark Hadaya (Beavercreek) threw two scoreless innings of relief, striking out three Transylvania hitters.
The Beavers out-hit the Pioneers in the game, but managed just one run in the contest. That run came in the fourth inning, when Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) led off the inning with a triple and later scored on an RBI single by Greg Franks (Smithville).
Bluffton left runners in scoring position three times in the final four innings and whiffed 14 times in the loss.
Ben Roeschley (Graymont, Ill./Flanagan) didn't let the game one defeat have any effect on his game-two performance, allowing the Beavers to build a lead while keeping the Transy hitters in check. He gave up a run in the third inning, but kept the Pioneers off the board after that until the seventh. Roeschley did not get a decision in the game, but finished with 7.2 innings pitched, allowing just five hits and three earned runs while striking out three.
David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) came on in relief for Roeschley and picked up the win. Ianiro (1-0) threw 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and one unearned run while striking out one.
Bluffton broke a scoreless tie in the third inning, beginning with a leadoff walk to Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic). He came around to score on a one-out RBI single by Niermann.
Transylvania tied the game up at one in the bottom of the third, but the Beavers responded in the fifth. Richardson opened the inning with a double down the right field line, his second two-bagger of the game. Niermann hit a double of his own with one out to drive in Richardson. Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) promptly traded places with Niermann, hitting an RBI double to right field to give Bluffton a two-run lead.
The Pioneers scored a run in both the seventh and the eighth innings to tie the game up, putting the pressure on the Beaver offense going into the ninth inning. With two outs and Richardson on second base, Transy intentionally walked Niermann to set up the force out and keep him from continuing his assault on the record books, but that would come back to haunt the Pioneers rather quickly. Webb came through with a clutch two-run double to right field to give Bluffton the lead. Following the double, Christian Vail (Lucas) added on an important insurance run, hitting a triple which plated Webb.
Bluffton would surrender a run in the bottom of the ninth, but that was all as the Beavers held on to split the doubleheader.
Niermann continued his red-hot streak at the plate, going 6-for-7 in the two games and knocking in two runs. Webb collected three hits on the day while driving in three crucial runs. Richardson, Franks, Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) and Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) all chipped in two hits apiece.
Bluffton moved to 18-13 overall and 9-7 in Heartland Conference play following the split, while Transylvania stands at 15-14 on the season and 8-8 in conference. These two teams will play one more game on Sunday in Lexington, a pivotal one in the standings. That contest is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. at William A. Marquard Field.