By Martin Kluk, sports information intern
After a rough week against conference foes Defiance and Mount St. Joseph, the Bluffton University baseball team exploded for 11 runs on 18 hits in an 11-2 victory at Earlham College on Tuesday, April 24. The offense was able to score in six different innings, including five straight from the second to the sixth. The win puts the Beavers at a 16-18 mark overall while moving within a game of .500 in the Heartland Conference at 9-10. The Quakers fell to 14-17 overall (4-13 HCAC).
Bluffton got the scoring started in the top of the second with a little help from Earlham's defense. Tyler Wright (Troy) led off the inning by reaching on an error. Airic Steagall (Hillsboro) followed with a bunt single, putting Beavers on first and second. After a wild pitch moved the runners up 90 feet, Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) delivered with a double which scored both runners and made it 2-0.
The Quakers responded with a pair in the bottom half of the inning, but that was all they would score in the game as it was all Beavers after the second. Bluffton regained the lead in the top of the third. Back-to-back singles by Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) and Doug Paullin (Jeromesville/Hillsdale) followed by a walk to Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) loaded the bases. Wright stepped up and lined a single that scored Niermann. After a double-play ball made it two outs with two on, Webb came through in the clutch again with his second two-run double of the evening, plating Stephenson and Wright to make it 5-2.
In the fourth and fifth innings, the Beavers tacked on three more with Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) serving as the key. He drilled a solo shot in the fourth for his second long ball of the season and then came through again in the fifth with a two-out RBI double, scoring Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) and making it 8-2 after five.
Back-to-back two baggers by Stephenson and Wright scored two more in the sixth to make it 10-2. The pitching dominated the game from the third inning on as Earlham did not score again. The Beavers tallied a run in the ninth, making the final score 11-2 in favor of the visitors.
Freshman Halen Core (Reynoldsburg) started and pitched four innings, giving up a pair of runs on five hits while walking three and fanning five. Relievers Ben Roeschley (Graymont Ill./Flanagan) and Mark Hadaya (Beavercreek) combined to throw five dominating innings of one-hit ball with a walk and nine strikeouts. Roeschley earned the win and his record improved to 3-5 on the season.
The offense was paced by a huge day from Niermann, Stephenson, Wright and Webb as each notched three hits. Webb led the way with four RBI as the other three all scored two runs apiece.
The Beavers travel to Franklin for a crucial three-game Heartland Conference series this weekend starting on Friday, April 27. The first contest with the Grizzlies is scheduled for 4 p.m.