Bluffton picks up split at Anderson
Beavers zero in on HCAC tourney berth with split at Anderson
April 23, 2011
ANDERSON, Indiana - The Bluffton University softball team moved one step closer to its fifth-straight berth in the four-team Heartland Conference tournament with a split at Anderson University on Saturday, April 23, 2011. The Beavers took game one by a 5-2 count before Anderson recovered for a 7-2 victory in the nightcap. Bluffton moves to 17-14 overall and 9-5 in the HCAC, while AU stands 18-12 on the season and 8-4 in conference play.
Meagan Price (Toledo/Springfield) set the tone with a leadoff bomb in game one for a 1-0 lead. That is what the score remained until Allie Hoover knotted the game with an RBI two-bagger in the the bottom of the fourth.
A Raven miscue put Bluffton up 2-1 in the sixth as Chelsie Osborne (Chillicothe/Waverly) crossed the plate. The Beavers put the game out of reach with three tallies a frame later. Shelby Erford (Paulding) singled to open the inning and Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and Stevie Cuttitta (Columbiaville, Mich./Clio) were both hit by pitches, loading the bases. One out later, a walk to Price forced in Nikitas for a 3-1 lead. Ashley Manusos (Spring Grove, Ill./McHenry Community East) singled home pinch runner Tiffany Buckmaster (Lima/Bath) and Osborne picked up Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) with a sacrifice fly to center.
Anderson used an RBI-double by Stephanie Atkins to make the score 5-2 in the seventh, but Stevie Cuttitta finished off the Ravens for her ninth victory of the year. She allowed two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in seven innings of work. Manusos tallied two hits for the victors, while Price drove in two runs.
The Ravens came out swinging in game two, putting up two runs in the first, the second and the fourth en route to a 6-0 lead that included a pair of two-run Megan Ream homers.
Price hit her second long ball of the afternoon to open the sixth, but Lauren Smith answered with another dinger for the Ravens in the home half. Wade doubled home Cuttitta in the seventh, but that was all the Beavers could muster in a 7-2 setback in game two.
Cuttitta fell to 9-5 on the season after giving up four runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings. Price and Osborne both finished with two safeties as Price launched her fourth home run of the season.
Bluffton returns to action with a short trip to Ohio Northern on Thursday, April 28. The first contest with the Polar Bears is slated for 3:30 p.m. in Ada.