Beavers recover for split with MSJ
April 5, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - An 8-0 lead heading into the fifth inning of game one was not enough to keep its four-game Heartland Conference winning streak intact as Mount St. Joseph rallied for a 9-8 victory over the Bluffton University softball team on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The Beavers came back to secure a split following a 9-1 mercy-rule victory in game two. Bluffton moved to 16-8 overall and 6-2 in the Heartland Conference, while MSJ improved to 3-11 and 1-1 in the HCAC.
The Beavers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to five straight one-out hits. Jess Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) doubled home Brittany Baker (Springboro) before run-scoring singles by Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) and Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) made the score 3-0. Ashley Knippen's (Wapakoneta) groundout picked up Bondra for the final score of the frame.
Ariana Muffo's (New Athens, Ill.) solo shot to center in the second pushed the lead to 5-0. An unearned run in the third made the score 6-0 before Knippen's two-run double to the gap in right center in the fourth had Bluffton on the verge of a five-inning mercy-rule finish.
Five runs on five hits with two Bluffton errors in the top of the fifth ended all hopes of a quick exit as Mount St. Joseph rallied the troops. The visitors came right back with three more tallies an inning later to knot the score at 8-8.
A sacrifice fly from Mallory Wright in the top of the seventh sent the Lions to victory when Bluffton went down without a whimper in the bottom of the inning. Kuzara, who smoked two doubles, and Shelby Erford (Paulding) both went 3-of-4 in game one. Knippen drove in three and Kolezynski scored twice. Kolezynski, Bondra and Marissa Wilson (Farmersville/Valley View) all added two safeties for the Beavers.
Although she allowed just one run in 1.2 innings of relief on two hits with a strikeout, Kolezynski went to 3-3 on the season with the loss. Chloe Shell (Covington) surrendered eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.
A Lion score in the second inning of game two had the home fans on the edge of their seats before Bluffton regained momentum with three scores in the bottom of the third. Baker opened with a double to left center before back-to-back errors allowed her to tie the game. Erford laced an RBI single to left that allowed both Kolezynski and Bondra to cross the dish.
A six-run fourth made the score 9-1 as the home team tallied five hits in the frame. A walk and a Lion error aided the effort as Kuzara's two-run triple and Knippen's double were the big blows for Bluffton.
Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) retired the side in the fifth to secure the split as she improved to 5-0 on the season with a dominating five-inning outing that saw MSJ score just one run on five hits with four strikeouts.
Baker and Knippen both chipped in with two safeties. Kuzara drove in two runs, while Baker scored twice for the victors.
Bluffton welcomes HCAC-leading Anderson University to Allen County on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The Strikeout Cancer Day doubleheader is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. Come support your Beavers!