Bluffton splits with Ohio Northern
April 21, 2014
By: Josh Burkholder, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team split a pair of non-conference games with the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears on Monday, April 21, 2014. Game one was a thrilling 10-9 walk-off victory in extra innings for the Beavers, and in game two Ohio Northern pulled away for the 13-5 win. The split puts the Beavers at 17-15 overall, while ONU moved to 20-11 on the season.
Senior TIM WEBB (Delaware/Worthington Christian) opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the first. After ONU plated a pair in the third, consecutive RBI hits by freshman LUKE HICKEY (Toledo/Whitmer), Webb and JAKE TOWNLEY (Mansfield/Madison), along with an RBI groundout from TYLER SPALDING (Willis, Mich./Ypsilanti Lincoln), pushed the score to 5-2.
Over the next two innings, ONU scored three and Bluffton knocked in two as CLAYTON SIDERS (Delaware/Worthington Christian) legged out an RBI triple and AARON YOUNG (Shelby) added an RBI single.
Due to the weekday doubleheader, the first contest was slated for seven innings. Bluffton entered the seventh with a 7-5 advantage, trying to secure the win. The Polar Bears had other thoughts, however, scoring four runs in their half of the inning. Down by two, Bluffton roared right back when a red-hot JEFF ROTH (Bellevue) came up clutch with a two-out, two run single which tied the game at nine.
The game moved into extra innings and Bluffton was able to shut down ONU in the top of the eighth. The bottom of the inning started with Siders lacing a double and an intentional walk to Hickey, putting two on with no outs. Two fly outs to right field set the stage for sophomore pinch hitter TRENTON SHINDORF (Delta/Evergreen) who blooped a base hit just inside the left field line for a walk-off RBI single, giving the Beavers a 10-9 triumph, their second in as many home games.
Siders had an outstanding game at the plate, going 3-of-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. Roth was 2-of-3 with two RBI and Webb knocked in two and scored two in the victory. Hickey went 2-of-3 with an RBI and run scored.
BRAD SCHLABACH (Fredericksburg/Hiland) tossed four innings, giving up four earned runs while striking out two. Freshman TAYLOR GAMBRELL (Bowling Green) followed with three innings of work, giving up five runs, two earned, and also striking out two. It was sophomore LANDEN BROWN (Lebanon) though that came away with the victory, going one inning and only giving up one hit for his first career win and a 1-0 record.
ONU's bats responded in the second game, jumping out to a 6-1 lead after two, with Roth picking up the Beaver RBI on a second-inning single. After two more by the Polar Bears in the top of the third, Bluffton scored four runs on a Townley RBI single, a two-run double by T.J. DEVORE (Grove City), and a Hickey RBI single, cutting the ONU lead to 8-5.
Ohio Northern answered back with a five-spot in the top of the fifth, opening up a 13-5 lead, and Bluffton was unable to muster any offense before the game was called due to darkness after six innings.
AUSTIN EVERY (Zanesville/West Muskingum) had a rough start for the Beavers, going one-third of an inning and giving up five runs while taking the loss. His twin brother, KEVIN EVERY (Zanesville/West Muskingum), had the best outing of the three relief pitchers, tossing 1.2 scoreless frames.
Devore made the most of his start behind the plate in the second game, going 2-of-3 with two RBI. Hickey, who leads the HCAC with a .448 batting average, continued to batter the opposition, going 5-of-6 on the day with two RBI and two runs scored, while Townley continued to impress, collecting four hits and two RBI.
Bluffton dives back into league play this week, first traveling to Earlham on Tuesday (April 22) for a 4 p.m. start. They then return home to Memorial Field for a three-game weekend series against Mount St. Joseph, with the single game on Friday slated for 4:15 p.m. and the doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon. Come support your Beavers!