Bluffton 7, Earlham 4
April 22, 2014
RICHMOND, Ind. - A pair of runs in both the eighth and ninth innings propelled the Bluffton University baseball team to its fifth straight Heartland Conference series victory as the Beavers wrapped up a home-and-home sweep of Earlham College on a beautiful Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Bluffton improved to 18-15 overall and more importantly 10-9 in the HCAC, while Earlham slipped to 18-14 and 10-9 in the conference.
The visitors snapped a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth with a two-out rally that appeared to start harmlessly when senior Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) beat out an infield single. Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison), who has been on a tear since coming off the disabled list, delivered an RBI double to right field for a 4-3 lead. An Earlham error with Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) at the dish allowed Townley to motor home for a 5-3 advantage heading to the bottom of the frame.
Following seven dandy innings by starter Dyson Bowman (Coschocton), fellow freshman Corey Johnson (Waverly) came on in the eighth. Back-to-back singles to open the inning forced Coach Grandey to make another call to the bullpen, where Bluffton weekend ace Ben Roeschley (Graymont, Ill./Flanagan) was warming up. Roeschley limited the damage to an RBI groundout, retiring all three batters he faced while keeping Bowman in line for the win.
Knowing that he was likely to take the mound in the bottom of the ninth, David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) followed Jeff Roth's (Bellevue) bunt single with a two-run job to right field for some added breathing room. The senior closer set Earlham down in order to secure his sixth save of the season and ninth of his career, both school records for the hard-throwing southpaw.
Although Earlham finally managed to slow down Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) late in the game, the freshman phenom drove in two runs early with an RBI double and sacrifice fly. Webb added a run-scoring single in the third, helping stake Bluffton to a 3-1 lead before the Quakers knotted it with a two-run Charlie Hayes homer in the fourth inning.
In addition to his record-setting save, Ianiro went 3-of-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Roth continued to swing a hot stick, going 3-of-4 with two runs scored. Webb chipped in with two safeties for the victors.
Bowman improved to 4-3 after allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits in seven innings of work. He fanned four and walked three. Roeschley came through with a crucial hold in the eighth and Ianiro closed it out for his sixth save of the season.
Bluffton will continue its push for a first-ever Heartland Conference tournament berth when the Beavers welcome Mount St. Joseph for a weekend series this Friday, April 25, 2014. The lidlifter is slated for 4:15 at Memorial Field with a 12 p.m. doubleheader to follow on Saturday.