Bluffton picks up split at Hanover
Bluffton offense recovers for 10-2 mercy-rule win in game two
April 20, 2013
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University softball team discovered that it had in fact packed bats for the trip to Hanover when the Beavers came out and scored eight times during the first two innings of game two on Saturday, April 20, 2013. After an 8-0 six-inning shellacking at the hands of the Panthers in game one, Bluffton recovered from its two-hit, five-error performance with a 10-2 victory for a crucial series split. Bluffton's win assured the Beavers of their seventh straight Heartland Conference tournament appearance under Coach Bruder.
Hanover standout Leah Kemmerer (8-4) limited Bluffton to two paltry hits and a walk in six innings of work as the Panthers took advantage of a Bluffton squad that compounded its offensive woes with five errors in the field.
Sophomore Chloe Shell (Covington) fell to 8-7 after surrendering seven runs, four earned, on eight hits in just three innings of work. Emily Kolezynski (Strongsville) came on in relief and slowed Hanover down, allowing just one run on seven hits in 2.2 innings in the circle.
The Beavers did not let game one carry over to the second contest. Shelby Erford (Paulding) reached on a Hanover miscue to open game two and came around to score on an RBI two-bagger by junior Natalie Nikitas (Jeffersonville, Ind.). Two outs later, freshman Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta) picked up Katie Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) with a base hit to center for a 2-0 lead.
A six-run outburst by Bluffton in the top of the second all but sealed the split for the Beavers and it all happened following two outs to start the frame. Erford and Nikitas smacked RBI singles before Clark had the big hit, a two-run shot to left center. Knippen doubled home Ariana Muffo (New Athens, Ill.) who reached on an error and she came home on Hanover's second error of the inning, making the score 8-0.
Nikitas plated Shelby Wade (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) with a sacrifice fly in the third and Jess Kuzara (Flat Rock, Mich./Huron) picked up Ariana Muffo with a fly ball to center an inning later for a commanding 10-0 lead.
Game one starter Leah Kemmerer went deep with a two-run homer in the fourth, but junior Kayla Owens (Cincinnati/McAuley) set the next four Panthers down in order to wrap up the 10-2 mrecy-rule victory over Hanover. Owens allowed two runs on just two hits in five innings of work. She struck out three and did not walk a batter while improving to 7-5 on the season.
Nikitas, Clark, Knippen and Brittany Baker (Springboro) all rapped two hits in the victory. Nikitas led the Beavers with three RBI. Clark, Knippen and Kuzara drove in two runs each. Erford, Clark and Muffo all scroed two runs for the Beavers.
Bluffton is slated to finish its regular season with a non-conference doubleheader at Capital University on Thursday, April 25, 2013, at 3:30 PM.