Beavers drop two at Capital
Capital sweeps Bluffton in regular season finale for Beavers
April 25, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team had its share of chances in both games, but Capital University improved to 30-8 with a sweep of the Beavers on Thursday, April 25. With Bluffton's regular season in the rearview mirror, the Beavers will now turn their attention to the Heartland Conference tournament which is slated to start on Friday, May 3.
A full slate of conference games on Saturday and Sunday will determine who will join the Beavers as well as which team will host the tournament when the dust settles. 2012 champion Anderson is the unit that controls its own destiny as the Ravens can finish 13-3 with home sweeps of Hanover and Mount St. Joseph this weekend.
Capital University wasted no time showing why it is at the top of the Ohio Athletic Conference standings (14-2 OAC) when the Crusaders went up 3-0 before Bluffton could record an out. Three straight singles and a two-run Rose double added up to a 3-0 lead for the home team after inning one.
Bluffton made it 3-1 when freshman Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta) picked up Alexandra Haugh (Highland, Ind./Andrean) with a base hit up the middle. A Jessica Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) home run to center pulled Bluffton within a run, 3-2, in the fourth, but Capital responded with three runs which were aided by a Bluffton error that allowed two runners to cross the plate.
The visitors had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth and the bases were loaded one out later, but the Crusaders kept Bluffton off the scoreboard and then made the Beavers pay with four runs in the bottom of the frame for a 10-2 mercy-rule victory.
Junior Shelby Erford (Paulding) led the Bluffton offense with two hits. Chloe Shell (Covington) fell to 8-8 after giving up 10 runs on 14 hits in 5.2 innings of work. She struck out one batter and walked one in the loss.
Sophomore sensation Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) gave the Beavers hope to start game two when she tripled home Shelby Erford in the top of the first for a 1-0 advantage.
Following the Clark RBI, Bluffton went down without a whimper for the next three innings while Capital used small ball to score a run in each of the first three frames. The Beavers were unable to capitalize on two hits and a walk in the fifth as Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) was cut down trying to score from second on an infield single.
Capital tacked on an insurance tally in the sixth, making the score 4-1 heading to the seventh. Haugh and Clark singled, putting runners on the corners in the final frame, but Capital closed the door to complete the non-conference sweep of the Beavers.
Clark went 2-of-3 with an RBI to finish the day 3-for-6. Junior Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) took the loss after allowing three runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings in the circle. She walked three batters. Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) tossed the final 2.1 innings, limiting Capital to one run while keeping Bluffton within striking distance.
The Beavers will continue their season with a seventh consecutive berth in the Heartland Conference tournament on May 3-4 at a site to be determined. The regular-season champion earns the right to host the four-team double elimination tournament.