Bluffton sweeps Hanover on Senior Day
April 19, 2014
By: Josh Burkholder, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team played host to Heartland Conference rival Hanover for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 19, 2014. The Beavers came away with a sweep of the Panthers on Parents Day by scores of 8-7 and 9-1. Bluffton improved to 22-14 overall and 12-4 in the Heartland Conference, while Hanover fell to 17-15 and 6-6 in the HCAC.
Hanover came out strong, scoring two runs in the first and adding three more in the second as the Beavers fumbled their way to five errors through the first two innings. Bluffton was held scoreless until the fifth inning, when with runners on first and third, CHELSEA WEITZ (Dayton/Carroll) dropped down a sacrifice bunt which plated Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta). ARIANA MUFFO (New Athens, Ill.) followed with an RBI single to cut the Hanover lead to three.
The Panthers added two more runs in the top of the seventh, extending their lead to 7-2. In the bottom of the inning, Bluffton loaded the bases with one out for JESS KUZARA (Flat Rock, Mich/Huron) who came through with a two-run single to left. After Emily Kolezynski's (Strongsville) infield single loaded the bases again, clutch junior JO BONDRA (Highland Heights/Mayfield) notched the biggest hit of the game with a bases-clearing double to the wall in right field, knotting the score at 7-7. The Beavers once again loaded the bases with a walk and a single before KATIE MUSGRAVE (Doylestown/Chippewa) drew a walk-off base-on-balls, and Bluffton was able to overcome seven errors for a thrilling 8-7 victory.
Senior KAYLA OWENS (Cincinnati/McAuley) had a rough start on the mound, surrendering five runs (two earned) in one inning of work. She was picked up by freshman Emily Scupholm (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady) though, who came in and threw six outstanding innings of relief, only giving up two runs and scattering six hits while earning the win (8-2).
Kuzara had a fine game at the plate, going 2-of-3 with two RBI. Three other Beavers had multi-hit games for a total of 12, none bigger that Bondra's three-run double in the seventh.
The second game was far less dramatic for the home team but just as satisfying as the Beavers went out to a 5-1 advantage in the first inning. BRITTANY BAKER (Springboro) and Kuzara ripped back-to-back doubles, and after a Kolezynski single, Bondra was able to plate a run with a bunt single. Bondra then scored on an error abd Weitz followed with her second RBI of the day on a two-out base knock.
Bluffton tacked on one more in the third following a Musgrave RBI groundout, running the score to 6-1. The fourth inning started with the Beavers scoring an unearned run, which was followed by an RBI off the bat of Kolezynski. Knippen concluded the scoring with a two-out single that scored Kolezynski. The Beavers were able to hold Hanover scoreless again in the top of the fifth, giving Bluffton the eight-run mercy rule victory by a score of 9-1.
CHLOE SHELL (Covington) was very impressive on the mound for the second straight day, improving to 10-6 after allowing no earned runs and only four hits in five innings of work.
Baker and Knippen both finished the second game 2-of-3 with two runs scored, with Knippen adding an RBI. Kolezynski scored twice for the victors.
Bluffton has wrapped up HCAC league play, so the remaining regular season games are non-conference contests. Bluffton's 12-4 mark assures the Beavers of at least a second place finish and also a berth in the Heartland Conference tournament which kicks off on Friday, May 2.
The Beavers travel to Otterbein for a 3:30 p.m. start on Monday, April 21, followed by a return home to face Capital on Wednesday, also with a 3:30 p.m. start time. Come support your Beavers!