By Keisha Holtsberry, sports information assistant
I Game 2 stats: http://www.bluffton.edu/sports/baseball/2012/04-21-b2.htm
The Bluffton University baseball team split a doubleheader with the College of Mount St. Joseph Lions on Saturday, April 21, 2012, falling short in the first game (2-1) but bouncing back to take the second, 6-5. Bluffton moved to 15-17 overall and 8-9 in the HCAC, while MSJ stands at 10-20 overall and 3-14 in the HCAC.
In the first matchup the Beavers jumped ahead early, scoring a run in the second inning. Bluffton's only run of the game was scored by Airic Stegall (Hillsboro). He singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, went to third on a single and scored on a groundout. The Lions pulled ahead in the fifth inning after a passed ball and a Bluffton error set up a pair of unearned runs.
Senior Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Christian) was solid, going all seven innings and surrendering two runs, both unearned, on just four hits. He walked three and fanned five. Freshman Josh Gullett (Mansfield/Madison) had Bluffton's only RBI of the game.
The Beavers were the first team to put a run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning when they scored three runs. Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) reached first on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a Lion error. Gullett was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second for sophomore Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale) who loaded the bases with a single. Junior Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) stepped up to the plate and ripped a two-run single that cleared the bases when MSJ was unable to come up with his hit to center field.
The Lions came right back right in the top of the fifth inning, scoring three runs of their own with a little help from an error by Bluffton. In the bottom of the fifth the Beavers pulled ahead again. Tyler Wright (Troy) reached after getting hit by a pitch. He went to third on a wild pitch and crossed the plate when senior Tim Webb (Delaware) grounded into a double play.
In the bottom of the sixth Bluffton added one more run for a 5-3 lead. Gullett led off with a triple. He crossed the plate when Niermann hit a sacrifice fly to left field. The Lions came back and tied the game in the top of the seventh when the visitors put two runs on the board. With the game knotted 5-5 after nine innings, the Beavers shut down MSJ in the top of the 10th and ended it when Paullin singled home Webb in the bottom half.
The Beavers were led by Niermann with three RBI. Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) paced the Beavers with three hits, while Gullett and Paullin each had two safeties. Sophomore Ben Roeschley (Graymont. Ill/Flanagan) earned the win, tossing the last two innings and not allowing a run.
Bluffton and MSJ will get together for the rubber match at 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 22.