Bluffton splits regular season finale with Capital
April 23, 2014
By: Josh Burkholder, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - In the regular season finale, the Bluffton University softball team hosted non-conference opponent Capital University for two games on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The Beavers came up with a 6-1 victory in the opener, but were unable to get their bats going in the second game, falling to the Crusaders by a score of 5-0. Bluffton now stands at 24-14, while Capital moved to 21-17.
After a Capital unearned run to start the game, Bluffton came right back with a four-spot in the home half of the first for the commanding 4-1 lead. ARIANA MUFFO (New Athens, Ill.) led off with a single, which was followed by a double from BRITTANY BAKER (Springboro) to put two on with none out. A JESS KUZARA (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) run-scoring single and an EMILY KOLEZYNSKI (Strongsville) RBI groundout gave the Beavers a 2-1 advantage. After Kuzara scored on an error, sophomore ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta) capped the first inning scoring with an RBI single to right center.
Bluffton was able to tack on two more runs thanks to a JO BONDRA (Highland Heights/Mayfield) sacrifice fly in the third and an RBI triple off the bat of senior CHELSEA WEITZ (Dayton/Carroll) in the bottom of the sixth.
Junior CHLOE SHELL (Covington) threw an absolute gem from the mound, giving up just one unearned run and only five hits in the complete-game effort. She improved to 11-7 after needing just 95 pitches in the victory.
Kuzara had yet another impressive game at the plate, going 2-of-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Senior SHELBY ERFORD (Paulding) also crossed the dish twice for the home team.
In the second game, missed opportunities doomed the Beavers. Two walks and a bunt single from Baker loaded the bases with none out in the first, but Bluffton was unable to capitalize and stranded all three runners. Bluffton filled the sacks again in the second with the same result. Overall, there were nine runners left on base for the home team. Capital was able to push across one run each in the second, third, and fourth innings, as well as a crooked number in the fifth, giving them a 5-0 lead that would stand to the final out.
Freshman EMILY SCUPHOLM (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady) got the start for Bluffton, going five innings and allowing just one earned run. That one run would have proved to be enough by itself, though, as her season record fell to 9-3. Kolezynski came in for the last two innings and did an outstanding job in relief, surrendering just one hit in two shutout frames.
Baker went 2-of-3 for half of Bluffton's paltry hit total as Alyssa Patznick improved to 12-6 despite issuing seven free passes, including four in the first two innings.
With the regular season in the books, Bluffton's next stop will be the Heartland Conference tournament on Friday, May 2, with the time and location to be determined. Check out the Bluffton softball schedule page on the website for updates following the completion of the conference slate this weekend.