Beavers sweep Anna Maria for 7-2 start
Bluffton gets it done late in sweep of Anna Maria
March 8, 2013
By: Kyle Niermann, sports information intern
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Bluffton University baseball team used an eight-run inning in game one and a walk-off single in game two to sweep Anna Maria at Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday, March 8, 2013. Eight runs in the sixth inning of the lidlifter propelled Bluffton to a 10-6 victory over the Amcats before junior captain Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale) laced a game-winning single in the nightcap as Bluffton improved to 7-2 on the season.
The first game of the doubleheader began quietly for the Beavers who went the first three innings without scoring a run while stranding four runners. It appeared as though there would be carry over from the previous day's contest, when Bluffton stranded 13 runners.
While the Beaver bats were cold, the Amcats were taking advantage of their opportunities. In the bottom of the first inning, Anna Maria managed to push two runs across against Bluffton starter Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) and they did the same thing in the bottom of the second for a 4-0 lead. Richardson took over as the designated in favor of Hunter Ewing (Loveland) who came in and handled the Amcat hitters for the rest of the game.
The Beavers finally got on the board in the fourth inning, starting with a Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) double down the left field line. The next batter, David Ianiro (Mayfield), lined a fastball into the right-centerfield gap for a triple, scoring Townley. Ianiro would later cross the dish on a wild pitch.
Bluffton went quietly in the fifth but exploded for eight runs in the sixth which, again, was started by Townley. He was hit by a pitch and, following a line out and a pitching change, Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg), was also pegged by a pitch. Following a walk which loaded the bases, Jeff Roth (Bellevue) flared a ball over the second baseman's head for a single, making the score 4-3 in favor of the Amcats. With the bases still full, Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) linee a full count fastball down the right field line for a double and two RBI. The Beavers had a lead they would not relinquish, but the inning was far from over. After a strikeout, Richardson helped out his own cause by driving a single to left field, plating two more runs. After a single from Tim Webb (Deleware/Worthington Christian), the bases were again loaded for Ianiro, who walked, scoring another run. The final runs of the inning came when Doug Paullin lined a ball up the middle, adding two more tallies to the total. When the dust settled, the Beavers had plated eight runs on five hits, and it would be all they needed as their lead stood at 10-4.
The Amcats did make some noise in the final inning, plating two runs, but the game ended when, with runners on second and thrid, Joe McNeil smoked a base knock up the middle, which scored a run, but the trail runner was pegged at the plate on a strong throw from Niermann.
The final line for Ewing, who earned his first collegiate win, was five innings in relief, two runs (none earned) and three strikeouts. Niermann and Richardson led the Bluffton offense, collecting three and two hits, respectively.
Game two began in a similar fashion and it looked as though Bluffton would not be able to find the big hit. The Beavers stranded six runners in the first four innings, including a bases loaded situation in the fourth.
Doing a good job of keeping the Anna Maria hitters at bay was senior hurler Mark Hadaya (Beavercreek), who, despite struggling a bit early, settled down and only allowed three runs in his six innings of work while striking out two.
Bluffton did not manage to score until the bottom of the fifth inning which began with a Niermann double to left, his third hit of the game. Senior Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) followed with a single to left, plating Niermann and making the score 3-1. However, a couple fly outs and a strikeout ended the threat.
The next inning, the Beavers were at it again. With one out, Paullin singled up the middle and went to second on a wild pitch. Aaron Young (Shelby) then chopped a ball to the left side that bounced over the third basemen's head for a single. The ball was misplayed by the left fielder and Young advanced to third as Paullin crossed the plate. Following a Roth walk, Young scored on an error by the second baseman, tying the game at three. Two fly outs ended the inning, but the Beavers had what they needed.
The Beavers made a pitching change in the top of the seventh, bringing in Niermann, who had not pitched since his freshman year, to keep the game tied. The job was done as he surrendered a single but nothing more, en route to his first collegiate victory on the mound.
The bottom of the seventh went as well as the Beavers could have hoped. It began with a Greg Franks (Smithville) base knock, which was followed by hits from Townley and Ianiro. The bases were loaded with no outs for Paullin who laced the first pitch he saw up the middle, past a drawn in infield, to give the Beavers a dramatic 4-3 walk-off win.
Leading the Beavers offensivley in game two were Paullin, Townley, and Franks, all with two hits, and Niermann who finished with three safeties.
Bluffton improved to 7-2 following the sweep which gives the Beavers momentum heading into their final matchup of the Florida trip, a game versus Heidelberg that is slated to start at 11 a.m. on Saturday.