Beavers open Florida with pair of wins
March 3, 2014
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball team took advantage of its first opportunity to get on the dirt when the Beavers kicked off their 2014 campaign with a pair of victories in Fort Myers, Fla. on Monday, March 3, after two months of practices inside. A weekend that saw Bluffton's travel plans change more than once did not slow the Beavers as they opened with a 21-0 mercy-rule victory over Cedar Crest before capping the 2-0 start with a 7-6 win over Clark (Massachusetts) at the Cape Coral fields.
Senior Shelby Erford (Paulding) jump started the offense with an infield single and stolen base before Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) moved her to third with a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch made the score 1-0 in the home half of the first.
The Beavers made it 6-0 with five tallies in the second inning. Marisa Wilson (Farmersville/Valley View) drove home Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) to make the score 2-0. Erford plated Katie Musgrave (Doylestown/Chippewa) with ground ball and Kolezynski followed with a run-scoring single to left center. A stolen base and rundown set up the Beavers for two more runs in the frame.
An eight-run third made the final result elementary as Bluffton needed just three hits and a flurry of wild pitches to open a comfortable 14-0 lead. Bondra doubled while Kolezynski and Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill./New Athens) laced RBI singles to help the Beavers go up by double digits.
Seven more runs by the Beavers in the bottom of the fourth was highlighted by a three-run Jess Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) bomb that sailed over the fence in center field. Wilson added a two-RBI triple down the left field line.
On the other side of the equation was junior hurler Chloe Shell (Covington) who was every bit as excited about the sun and sand as the hitters were. She dominated Cedar Crest with eight strikeouts in the run-rule shortened contest. She limited the visitors on the scoreboard to one measly hit while walking three batters. Shell needed just 78 pitches to earn her first victory of the season.
Kolezynski was the story in game two as she pitched the first five innings and recorded the final out of Bluffton's 7-6 win over Clark College in the 1 p.m. contest. She fanned three, allowed just three hits and walked three while allowing just two runs, one earned, in 5.1 innings of work.
Kuzara put Bluffton on the scoreboard in the first with a sacrifice fly to center, plating Erford who led off the inning with a base knock.
Brittany Baker (Springboro) laced a two-run single to left center in the third and Kolezynski plated Musgrave and Wilson with her two-RBI base hit to left center an inning later for a 5-2 Bluffton advantage.
Baker doubled to start the fifth and crossed the dish on a wild pitch before Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) showed her skills at the plate with an RBI single up the middle an inning later. Clark battled till the end, throwing a four-spot up on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh before Kolezynski re-emerged and induced a game-ending groundout with the go-ahead run at the plate.
Kolezynski finished the day 4-of-6 at the plate with four RBI and four runs scored. Wilson went 3-of-5 and Musgrave was 4-of-7 on the afternoon. Wilson, Kuzara and Erford all scored four times and Kuzara added four RBI. Bluffton was red-hot at the plate, going 28-of-54 for a .519 batting average.
The Beavers return to action on Tuesday, March 4, when they travel to the Lee County complex for a 9 a.m. meeting with Wilmington College from the Ohio Athletic Conference.