Bluffton rallies for split with Olivet
March 21, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - A seventh-inning rally sent the Beaver fans home with smiles on their faces as Bluffton scored three runs in the final frame for a 3-2 victory over Olivet College on Friday, March 21, 2014. Olivet claimed the lidlifter by a 9-5 count thanks to four Bluffton errors and five free passes. The Beavers moved to 9-5 on the season, while Olivet stands 11-2 following the split at Bluffton.
The home team had its chances early in game two with runners on first and second and no outs in innings one and two, but each time the Comets kept Bluffton off the scoreboard as the contest remained deadlocked at zero. Olivet found its swing with four hits and two runs in the top of the fourth.
Three uneventful frames set up Bluffton's seventh-inning heroics as the score remained 2-0 until the Beavers came to the plate in the bottom of the final inning. Sophomore Katie Musgrave (Doylestown/Chippewa) and Chelsea Weitz (Dayton/Carroll) hit back-to-back one-out singles to ignite the comeback. Shelby Erford's (Paulding) grounder to third base was mishandled, loading the bases for junior Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill./New Athens). Muffo's ground ball to second had game-inning double play written all over it, but instead of a tag and toss to first, the late throw home was well off the mark, allowing Weitz to follow Musgrave across the dish for a 2-2 tie. Bluffton slugger Jess Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) drew an intentional pass to re-load the bases. Brittany Baker's (Springboro) grounder to short forced Erford at home, but Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) got it done with her walkoff single to right center as the Beavers earned a split with the 3-2 win.
Freshman hurler Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) improved to 2-0 on the season after working two shutout frames in game two. Emily Kolezynski (Stongsville), who paced the offense with a 2-of-3 effort at the plate, worked 1.2 scoreless innings and she did not allow either of her inherited runners cross the plate.
Olivet took advantage of two walks in the first inning of game one when T. Hurosky tripled to center and trotted home as the relay went into the visitor's dugout for a 3-0 Comet lead.
Musgrave picked up Baker with an RBI groundout in the second before the Beaver bats erupted for four hits and four runs in the third. Weitz opened the scoring with a line shot over the wall in left on the first pitch of the inning. RBI two-baggers by Kuzara, Muffo and Bondra added up to a 5-3 Bluffton lead midway through the game.
The Comets did not go away as they knotted the game with two scores in the top of the fifth before a four-run sixth knocked Bluffton starter Chloe Shell (Covington) out of the circle. A Kuzara single was all Bluffton could muster in its final six outs as Olivet took game one by a 9-5 count.
Kuzara and Muffo both connected for two hits in the opener. Shell slipped to 4-3 after allowing seven runs, five earned, on four hits in five innings of work. She fanned four and walked four in the loss.
Bluffton jumps right back into action on Saturday, March 22, when the Beavers travel to Lexington, Ky. for the 2014 conference opener with Transylvania University. Game one is slated for 1 p.m.