Beavers drop a pair to Madonna
Madonna sweeps Beavers in non-conference action
March 29, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - For the second straight day, the Bluffton University softball team lost a pair of two-run games to a non-conference opponent. NAIA member Madonna University improved to 14-11 with two victories over the Beavers (9-11) on Good Friday, March 29, 2013.
Madonna put up three runs right away in the first inning and followed that up with three more two frames later for a commanding 6-0 lead before the Beavers knew what hit them. A three-run homer in the first and four singles and a wild pitch in the third had the Crusaders on the verge of a mercy-rule before Bluffton started to chip away at the lead.
Back-to-back doubles by Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and Jessica Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) made the score 6-1 after four innings. Shelby Erford (Paulding) turned around and batted from the right side for the first time this season and she promptly tripled down the right field with one out in the fifth but was stranded there.
Following a leadoff double by Bluffton backstop Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.), Brittany Baker (Springboro) slammed a two-run shot to straightaway center field in the sixth frame. Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) launched her first career homer in the bottom of the seventh, but Madonna got two of the next three batters out for a 6-4 victory in the lidlifter.
Muffo, Kuzara and Baker all finished with two hits for the Beavers. Baker drove in two runs with her third home run of the season.
Junior Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) saw her record slip to 3-5 after surrendering six runs on seven hits in just three innings of work. She struck out four and walked four in the loss. Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) kept Bluffton in the game with four innings of scoreless relief.
The Crusaders posted solo tallies in the second and third innings of game two before back-to-back jacks by Emma Cook and Erin Mayes made the score 5-0 midway through the fourth.
A Madonna error set up Bluffton for a pair of unearned runs in the fifth when Erford parked a Carlee Meek offering over the fence in right center, making the score 5-2. Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) doubled home Muffo an inning later, but Madonna called on game one starter Bree Crampton to close the door in the seventh and she set the Beavers down in order for her second save of the season.
Muffo went 2-of-3 in game two to finish the day 4-of-7. Erford was 2-of-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Kolezynski took the loss in game two. She alllowed five runs, two earned, on eight hits with one walk. In a mirror reversal from game one, Owens kept Madonna at bay over the final 3.1 innings. She did not allow a run while scattering four hits with one strikeout.
Bluffton makes the long trip to Terre Haute, Ind., where the Beavers will meet Rose-Hulman on Saturday, March 30. The first contest of a Heartland Conference doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m.