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Baseball: 11-run sixth propels Bluffton to 15-5 win over Albion

By Martin Kluk, sports information assistant

Game 1 stats: http://www.bluffton.edu/sports/baseball/2012/03-17-b1.htm

I Game 2 stats: http://www.bluffton.edu/sports/baseball/2012/03-17-b2.htm

The Bluffton Beavers baseball team split a doubleheader against the Albion College Britons on Saturday, March 17, 2012, falling short in the first game (6-4) but bouncing back with an offensive outburst to take the second, 15-5. Bluffton moves to 5-8 while Albion stands at 3-7 on the year.

In the first matchup, the Brits jumped ahead early, scoring three runs in the first two innings. Bluffton made it 3-1 after three with its first run of the day when Tyler Wright (Troy) tripled, sending home Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale) who had opened with a bunt single to start the inning.

With two down in the bottom half of the fourth, Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) hit a two-bagger that scored Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) from first, trimming the deficit to 3-2.

However, an error in the top of the fifth led to two unearned runs for the Brits and put them back up by three at 5-2. The Beavers fought hard and plated a run in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Paullin that scored Richardson before another response by the Britons in the top of the seventh made it 6-3.

Bluffton tried to rally as Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) lined a double which plated Wright and pulled the Beavers within two with one out, but Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) and Richardson grounded out to end the first game with a final score of 6-4.

Errors were the bane for the Beavers in the game as the unearned runs were too much too overcome. Richardson was solid, going five innings and surrendering eight hits, three earned runs, and a pair of walks with two strikeouts. Freshman Brad Schlabach (Fredricksburg/Hiland) threw two innings of relief, giving up one run. Wright, Stephenson, and Paullin all chipped in with two base knocks while Richardson added two RBI.

For the second matchup between the teams, the Beavers got on the board first with another two-out run when Broyles singled home Stephenson from second base for an early 1-0 edge. As both teams had done all day, Albion notched a run in the top of the second to tie things back up only to have Bluffton answer in the bottom half with a two-out double by Webb, scoring junior Anthony Cianci (Ravenna/Southeast) from first, making it 2-1 through two.

After a scoreless third frame, the Brits chalked up four more runs, three unearned, in the fourth and fifth as Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Toledo Christian) was pitching well but the defense was not picking him up. However, that did not stop the offense. The Beaver bats plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth and a whopping 11 runs in the sixth to take a 15-5 lead and that ended being the final score.

For the 11 run outburst in the sixth, the inning was started by back-to-back solo shots from Cianci and Kyle Niermann (Napolean). To go along with the home runs, Wright had monster fifth and sixth innings with three hits, two doubles and a single, three RBI and two runs scored. Webb also added a single, double and 3 RBI in the big sixth frame.

Barnes earned his first victory of the season. He went seven strong innings, giving up eight hits, one earned run, with a walk and five K's. For the Beaver lineup that posted 15 runs on 18 hits, Wright and Webb each rapped four hits with three RBI. Cianci also notched four hits and just missed the cycle by a triple. Niermann added in three safeties of his own and three RBI.

Bluffton returns to action on Tuesday, March 20, when the Beavers host the Polar Bears of Ohio Northern at 4:15 PM.