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April 14, 2021

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Football: Beavers 3-3 after loss in Cincinnati

Baseball, softball and men's golf summaries here

Here's a recap of Bluffton University weekend sports contests.

Football
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team fell to 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the Heartland Conference following a 47-21 loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday, April 3, 2021. A 20-point quarter by MSJ was too much to overcome as the Lions punched in three touchdowns in the final 6:14 of the first half.

Laurenz Johnson (Huber Heights/Wayne) got the visitors on the scoreboard with an 18-yard touchdown reception from fellow freshman Darnell Thomas (Toledo/Springfield) with 5:22 to play in the opening quarter. The Beavers still led 7-6 thoughout much of the first half until MSJ erupted for 20 points late in the first 30 minutes for a 26-7 lead at the half.

Thomas made it 26-14 midway through the third quarter when he took it eight yards to the house. The two teams traded scores late in the third as freshman Kevaughn Robinson (Pickerington/North) ran it in from the six-yard line, but MSJ tacked on two scores in the fourth quarter to wrap up its 47-21 victory over an injury-riddled Bluffton team on Saturday.

Travon Mason (Erlanger, Ky./Lloyd Memorial) led the ground game with 109 yards on 11 carries, including a 49-yarder. Thomas carried it 21 times for 89 yards.

Mount St. Joseph finished with a marked 465-246 edge in total yards, including 226-35 passing. Bluffton moved the chains 4-of-14 times on third downs, compared to 6-of-10 for the Lions.

Freshman Nick Perry (Northwood/Lake) led the Beavers with nine tackles. Nolan Childress (Cleveland/Ginn Academy) was in on eight stops and Marcus Wood (Greenville) came up with a pickoff and 40-yard return.

Bluffton will return to action on Saturday, April 10, when the Beavers welcome rival Defiance College. Kickoff at Alumni Field is slated for 1:30 p.m.

Softball
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Bluffton University softball team split its conference-opening doubleheader at Rose-Hulman on Saturday, April 3, 2021 The Beavers moved to 4-12 overall and 1-1 in the Heartland Conference, while Rose stands at 6-7 and 1-1 in the HCAC.

A Taylor Steinke (Findlay) sacrifice fly in the first and another RBI by the senior in the third had the Beavers up 2-0 before Rose plated a pair of unearned tallies in the bottom of the frame. Lily Tate (Mount Gilead/Northmor) doubled to open the fifth inning and she came around courtesy of a Bobbi Adams (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) single that made the score 3-2.

With the game knotted at 3-3 after seven innings, Sydney Zinkon knocked in the game winner with two outs in the eighth as the Beavers opened their conference slate with a 4-3 victory.

Senior Katie McCord (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) came in and worked scoreless frames in the seventh and eight to notch her first victory of the season. She allowed just one hit with no walks. Sophomore Erin Norman (Pleasant Hill/Newton) went six strong innings, allowing three runs, just one earned, on seven hits with five punchouts.

Adams finished with three hits. Tate went 2-of-5 with two runs scored. Steinke drove in two runs and Riley Langstaff (Findlay) rapped a pair of two-baggers.

Bluffton gave up seven runs in the first two frames of game two, but three Beaver tallies in the second and another in the third kept the visitors within striking distance. Lexus Rutledge (Henderson, KY/Henderson County) laced a two-run single and Brianna Baker (Defiance/Ayersville) followed with a base knock that plated Marissa Auvil (Canton/Hoover) in the second frame. Steinke's RBI double  in the third drove in Sammi Urban (Troy/Miami East), making it 7-4 in favor of the Engineers.

Auvil's double in the fifth picked up Steinke and Adams, knotting the score at sevens, but a ground ball with the sacks full in the bottom of the seventh propelled RHIT to the 8-7 victory in game two.

Steinke, Auvil and Rutledge all drove in two runs during the nightcap. Steinke scored twice for the Beavers. Junior Grace Fillinger (Hinckley/Highland) took the hard-luck loss after limiting RHIT to just two runs on six hits over the final 5.1 innings. She walked two and struck out one. McCord was tagged for six runs on nine hits in just 1+ inning in the circle.

Bluffton will welcome Manchester for a pair of conference games on Wednesday, March 7. The first pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.

Softball
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team dropped a doubleheader to Case Reserve on Good Friday, April 2, 2021. The Spartans rolled to a 14-0 mercy-rule victory in game one and followed that up with an 8-3 win in game two.

The lone Bluffton hit in game one was a Bobbi Adams (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) rocket down the right field line in the fourth inning. The Spartans scored in only three innings, but they made them count with two in the first, five in the third and a seven-spot in the fifth frame. Leadoff hitter Sarah Miller showed why she came into the game with a .407 batting average and five dingers as she lasered the second pitch of the game over the fence in center field and cleared the bases with her bomb to right in the fifth inning.

Katie McCord (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) fell to 1-4 after surrendering 14 runs, seven earned, on 13 hits in five innings of work. She walked three and struck out one batter.

After six more scoreless frames for the Beavers to start game two, the Bluffton bats found some life in the seventh. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Adams and senior Taylor Steinke (Findlay) plated Lily Tate (Mount Gilead/Northmor), pinch runner Sammi Urban (Troy/Miami East) and Sydney Bowen (Convoy/Crestview), but it was not enough as the visitors capped the sweep with an 8-3 victory in game two.

Sophomore Erin Norman (Pleasant Hill/Newton) slipped to 1-3 after allowing four runs on five hits in her six-inning start. She walked three and struck out one Spartan. Steinke drove in two runs and senior Riley Langstaff (Findlay) went 2-of-4 for the home team.

Bluffton will have an early wakeup call on Saturday, April 3, when they travel four and a half hours to Terre Haute, Ind., for a pair of conference games at Rose-Hulman. The first contest is slated for 1 p.m.

Baseball
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team had its best day of 2021 with a sweep of rival Defiance College at Memorial Field on a beautiful Saturday, April 3, 2021. The Beavers took care of business with a mercy-rule 13-3 victory in game one and they finished the sweep with another seven-inning job, this time a 16-5 victory.

Bluffton puts runs on the scoreboard in five of seven innings en route to the 13-3 victory in game one. Parker Reynolds (Avon) and Adam Duncan (Northwood/Lake) did the damage with RBI doubles in the bottom of the first as Bluffton went up 4-0 over the Jackets. 

Sophomore Jack Towell (Batavia/West Clermont) doubled home Reid Ruhl (Hamilton) in the second and when Luke Hanson (Somerset/Sheridan) drew a bases-loaded walk, Towell crossed the dish for a 6-0 spread after two innings. 

Ruhl lifted a sacrifice fly to center following a Jaxon Rogan leadoff triple in the third and he tripled home Duncan and Nick Diana (Batavia/West Clermont) in the fourth for a 9-0 advantage.

Defiance stuck around with a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh, but four tallies by the home team in the bottom of the frame ended it in mercy-rule fashion with Bluffton taking game one by a 13-3 count. A two-run double by Jake Baumgartner (Toledo/Start) followed by a two-run Duncan base knock was all she wrote in the lidlifter.

Sophomore Jacob Boelkens (Millbury/Lake) made the most of his second straight quality start. He allowed just three runs, two earned, on six hits in six innings of work. Boelkens fanned seven and walked four. Jaden Jaques (New Palestine, IN/New Palestine) worked a scoreless seventh to close it out.

Ruhl, Baumgartner and Duncan all drove in three runs and Hanson added a pair of RBI. Latkofsky, Towell, Reynolds, Baumgartner and Duncan all crossed the dish twice in the 13-3 rout.

Game two was over almost before it started. Ten Bluffton runs in the home half of the first was more than enough to knock out the Jackets. Eight of those tallies were unearned as DC added to its misery with two first-inning errors. A Towell three-run bomb was the highlight!

Reynolds got in on the long-ball action with a three-run homer in the fourth as Bluffton opened a 15-2 lead going to the fifth inning. Defiance tried to make a game of it with three scores in the top of the fifth, but a Towell RBI single in the bottom of the frame pushed the lead to 11 for relievers Josh Slade (Cincinnati/Madeira) and Seth Evans (Ada/OSU-Lima) who got it home in seven when they needed just eight batters to finish off the 16-5 victory.

Tommy Siemer (Liberty Township/Lakota East) improved to 3-1 on the season, allowing five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts in five innings of work. Towell drove in five runs, while Latkofsky added four in game two. Ruhl and Rogan scored three times apiece, while Latkofsky, Towell, Baumgartner all crossed the dish two times. Adam Yoh (Milford) chipped in with a pair of safeties.

After a weekend of painting and searching for Easter eggs, the Beavers will go back to work with a Heartland Conference series at Transylvania on the docket next Saturday, April 10, following the completion of their March 6 game when they get to Lexington, Ky!

Men's golf
LIBERTY, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's golf team traveled to Indiana for day one of the Randal Sadler Invitational at Harbor Links Golf Course. Bluffton stands in sixth place after shooting a 328 on Good Friday, April, 2, 2021.

Senior Takoda Pratt (Shelby) led the Beavers with an impressive 79. Nathan Eberle (Grove City) and Nick Offenburger (Lexington) were just off the pace at 82 and 83, respectively. Sophomore Justin Metsker (Burbank/Wickliffe) rounded out the scorers for Bluffton with an 84 on Saturday.

The Beavers will tee it up for round two at approximately 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 3.