Bluffton stays perfect at 4-0
Pitching rules the day in Bluffton victories
March 8, 2011
KISSIMMEE, Florida - The Bluffton University softball team rode a pair of superb pitching performances to victories over Bridgewater and Mitchell on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, at the Fortune Road Complex. Bluffton improved to 4-0 on the young season. Bridgewater (4-1) dropped it first game of the year, while Mitchell fell to 0-4.
Bridgewater plated an unearned run in the top of the first when Lauren Childress singled home Hillary Rees with two outs. Freshman hurler Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) then took center stage, allowing just two hits over the next five innings as Bluffton stayed within striking distance.
The Beavers knotted the game with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Paige Gerdeman (Columbus Grove) led off the frame with a single to center field. A Chelsie Osborne (Chillicothe/Waverly) sacrifice bunt moved Gerdeman to second with one down. Gerdeman slid into third ahead of the throw following Shelby Wade's (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) groundout to third and she crossed the plate when Emily Manahan (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) beat out a Bridgewater throw to first.
The Eagles took advantage of three passes and a Heather Jenkins RBI single to take a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, setting the stage for another fantastic finish by the Beavers. Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.), who laced a walkoff single against Marietta on Monday, led off the inning with an infield hit. Cuttitta followed with a sacrifice bunt before Shelby Erford (Paulding) ended the game with a no-doubter over the wall in left center for a 3-2 victory.
Nikitas went 2-of-3 with a run scored while Erford's two-run shot in the seventh propelled the Beavers to a 3-0 record. Kayla Owens struck out seven while allowing just four hits. She worked 6.1 innings and limited the Eagles to two runs, one earned. Junior Kristin Agauas (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Andover) recorded the final two outs in the seventh for her first victory of the season.
Bluffton put the only runs on the scoreboard that it would need when the Beavers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against winless Mitchell College. Ashley Manusos (Spring Grove, Ill./McHenry Community East) ignited the offense with a leadoff single. She went to second on a wild pitch and came around to score thanks to Chelsie Osborne's base knock up the middle. A Mitchell error put runners on first and second before Meagan Price (Toledo/Springfield) picked up Osborne with her single to center.
Cuttitta had no problems in the circle, firing her second complete game win in as many days while also collecting a two-inning save yesterday. She had a one-hitter through six innings. Bluffton tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Wade's ground ball to second sent Osborne, who led off the frame with a triple, across the dish. Cuttitta worked around two infield singles to start the home half of the seventh as she capped off the shutout with a strikeout.
Osborne was 2-of-4 with two runs scored. Cuttitta improved to 2-0 with her three-hit shutout. She fanned eight and did not walk a batter.
Bluffton will take on Geneva College at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, at the Fortune Road Complex in Kissimmee, Florida.