Beavers earn sweep at Mount St. Joseph
Bluffton moves to 7-1 in the HCAC with sweep of Lions at MSJ
April 6, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team moved to 15-11 overall and 7-1 in the Heartland Conference with a crucial sweep of the Lions at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The Beavers moved to 15-11 and 7-1 in the HCAC, taking over first place in the conference thanks to a Franklin sweep of previously undefeated Manchester University.
The visitors came out and scored all they would need with three runs in the top of the first inning despite connecting for just one hit. Three walks, an MSJ miscue and a Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) RBI single put Bluffton up 3-0 before the Lions had their chance to bat.
Mount St. Joseph came back with a run in the home half, but sophomore Chloe Shell (Covington) slammed the door, limiting the home team to just that one run on five hits in a complete-game effort that helped raise her record to 8-4 on the season.
Bluffton tacked on two runs in the fourth when Shelby Erford (Paulding) and Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta) rapped back-to-back RBI singles for a 5-1 lead and what turned out to be the final score.
Erford, who scored twice, and Clark led the Bluffton offense with two hits apiece.
Clark put Bluffton up 1-0 in the first inning of game two with her RBI single which plated Erford who singled up the middle to open the contest. MSJ answered back with a run in the home half, but Bluffton took control when sophomore Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.) belted a three-run double down the left field line in the third inning.
An inning later, Clark again made her presence known to the Lions when she laced a two-run single for a 6-1 Bluffton advantage. Erford and Alexandra Haugh (Highland, Ind./Andrean) both crossed the dish for the Beavers.
The Lions made a game of it with three runs in the sixth, aided by two Bluffton errors. The Beavers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, however, MSJ limited the damage to one run thanks to a couple force plays at the plate.
Shell came on in the seventh and closed it out for her second save of the season, inducing three ground balls to end the game with Bluffton on top, 7-4.
Clark battered the MSJ pitching staff, going 4-of-4 in game two to finish the sweep with six hits. She drove in three runs in the nightcap and scored one. Erford went 3-of-4 with two runs scored and Muffo drove in three runs on two hits.
Owens upped her season mark to 6-5 after tossing 5.2 innings for the win. She allowed four runs, just one earned, on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Bluffton will return to action on Tuesday, April 9, when the Beavers travel to Anderson University for a pair of games with the defending HCAC champions and pre-season favorites to do it again. The first contest is slated for 3:30 p.m.