Bluffton shuts down DC in sweep of Jackets
April 1, 2014
DEFIANCE, Ohio - It was no April Fool's joke when the Bluffton University softball team traveled to Defiance College and came away with a convincing sweep of the rival Yellow Jackets on a windy April 1, 2014. Bluffton improved to 15-7 overall and 5-1 in the Heartland Conference with its second HCAC sweep in three days, while Defiance fell to 3-8 on the season and 0-4 in the conference.
The Beavers jumped on top in the first when junior Brittany Baker (Springboro) launched a one-out bomb over the wall in left center for a 1-0 lead. Shelby Erford (Paulding) singled home Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) to make the score 2-0 before Defiance took its turn at the dish.
Junior Chloe Shell (Covington) worked around a one-out walk in the bottom of the frame and the offense rewarded her with a four spot an inning later. Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.) doubled home Katie Musgrave (Doylestown/Chippewa) before singles by Baker and Jess Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) made it 4-0. Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) delivered the big blow, a two-run double to left center that pushed the lead to six runs.
A Musgrave triple and a Muffo base knock down the right field line in the third frame gave the Beavers a comfortable 7-0 lead.
Defiance took advantage of two dropped fly balls in the fourth to plate their only tally of the afternoon, an unearned one. However, the Jackets returned the favor in the fifth when Musgrave reached on a DC miscue and Muffo made the home team pay with a two-run double to the wall in right center.
Shell kept the home team off the scoreboard in the fifth while improving to 7-4 with the five-inning victory. She allowed just two his and one unearned run while striking out three Jackets. The junior ace needed just 75 pitches thanks to Bluffton's offensive outburst.
Muffo went 3-of-4 with four RBI from her leadoff spot. Baker, Kuzara, Bondra and Erford all finished with two hits. Bondra drove in two, while Musgrave scored three runs in the lidlifter. Baker crossed the dish twice.
Five scoreless frames had the Bluffton faithful on edge before the Beavers broke through with two scores in the top of the sixth. Muffo singled through the left side and moved to second following a sacrifice bunt by Baker. Kuzara drilled an RBI double to left center for the first run of the game and she came around when Kolezynski singled to left.
A two-out rally in the seventh gave the Beavers breathing room as Musgrave ignited the rally with a base knock to left center. Muffo continued her hot hitting with an RBI two-bagger and she came around for a 4-0 lead courtesy of Baker's run-scoring single to left.
Freshman Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) ran the show in game two, scattering seven hits while keeping Defiance off the scoreboard. She fanned six, including two with runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the seventh, and did not issue a free pass.
Muffo, Baker and Musgrave all chipped in with two hits in the nightcap. Muffo scored twice for the victors.
Bluffton will travel to Westerville and step out of the conference for a doubleheader with Otterbein on Friday, April 4, at 3:30 p.m. before returning to Beaver country for an HCAC showdown with Mount St. Joseph on Saturday at 1 p.m.