Bluffton at Manchester
Beavers break five-game skid with spilt at Manchester
April 15, 2007
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton University softball team broke a five-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory over Manchester in game one on Sunday, April 15, 2007. The Spartans came back from a four-run deficit in the nightcap to even the season series with a 5-4 win over the Beavers. Bluffton improved to 6-10 overall and 2-4 in the Heartland Conference.
Game one - Bluffton 4, Manchester 1
The Spartans grabbed their only lead of the first game thanks to a pair of free passes in the bottom of the fourth inning. A Kunkel single plated Heaton who had reached on a walk and moved up a base on a wild pitch. Sophomore ace Kellie Kenney (Toledo/Emmanuel Baptist) then dialed it in and limited the Spartans to only one hit over the final three innings of play.
Bluffton responded with a two-out rally in the top of the fifth. Katie Ammons (Findlay/Findlay) ripped a double and moved to third when Gretchen Handley (Ashland/Ashland) reached on an error by the pitcher. Brooke Babcock (Findlay/Findlay) provided all the offense the Beavers would need when her single drove in both Ammons and Handley.
A leadoff walk to Kenney in the top of the seventh paid dividends for the Beavers. Handley was hit by a pitch, putting two Bluffton runners on base with only one out. Babcock singled in Laura Brown (Sullivan/Black River), who was inserted to run for Kenney and Handley crossed the plate when the Spartans could not handle Jayme Marbaugh's (Ohio City/Parkway) shot to the right side.
Although the Beavers managed only six hits, Bluffton took advantage of three Manchester errors to score four runs, three unearned, for a 4-1 victory over the Spartans.
Babcock went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Handley scored two runs in the win. Kenney (5-4) went the distance, holding Manchester to four hits and one run while striking out three Spartans.
Game two - Manchester 5, Bluffton 4
Bluffton exploded for all four of its runs in the first inning of game two. Ammons opened the frame by reaching on an error by the shortstop. Consecutive infield groundouts moved Ammons to third with two outs. Babcock's poke to the shortstop could not be handled and the Beavers had an early 1-0 lead. Senior Carrie Weisbecker (Okeana/Ross) singled, putting runners on first and second for Lindsey Miller (Wapakoneta/Wapakoneta). The third error of the inning allowed Babcock and Weisbecker to both cross the plate, but the damage was not complete. Amanda Harris (Arcanum/Arcanum) picked up Miller and gave the Beavers a comfortable 4-0 cushion after only half an inning.
Manchester wasted no time getting back into the ballgame thanks to five consecutive one-out singles in the bottom of the first. Boyer and Miller both crossed the plate, cutting the Spartans' deficit to two runs, 4-2.
Miller singled home Blinn who had had pounded a one-out double in the bottom of the second, making the score 4-3 in favor of the visitors.
In the bottom of the third, Manchester used two singles, a free pass and an error to knot the score at four and force Babcock off the mound.
With the Beavers' bats silent following the four-run first, Miller came through again and scored the game-winner for the Spartans in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Harris and Weisbecker both led the Beavers with two hits with Harris picking up an RBI. Babcock worked 2.2 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, with five strikeouts and only one walk. Kenney (5-5) took the loss, working 3.1 innings and limiting the Spartans to one run on three hits with four strikeouts.
The Beavers return to action on Tuesday, April 17, 2007, when they welcome Denison to Marbeck Field. The Big Red are led by Coach Bruder's twin sister Holly who previously served as a graduate assistant at Bluffton University. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.