April 25, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball squad took to its home turf to face off against the Anderson University Ravens in a pivotal HCAC matchup on Wednesday, April 25. The Beavers used an extra-inning comeback to march to a 4-3 walk-off victory in game one before another stunning comeback in the second game for a 7-5 win. The pair of victories pushed Bluffton to 18-13 overall and 7-7 in Heartland Conference play.
The Beavers fell behind early 1-0 after the Ravens scored a quick run in the top of the first. After Anderson added another run in the top of the second, an ADAM DUNCAN (Northwood/Lake) RBI in the bottom of the frame cut the deficit to 2-1. Bluffton would continue its scoring trend in the bottom of the third with a PARKER REYNOLDS (Avon) RBI which evened up the score at 2-2.
After two innings of scoreless work, a run by the Ravens allowed the visitors to take a 3-2 lead in the sixth. In the bottom of the ninth, COLIN GREGORY (Fremont/Clyde) crushed a solo shot to left, tying the game up at 3-3. The Beavers were able to shut down a potent Anderson offense in the 10th, giving the Beavers a chance to end the game in the bottom of the inning. With runners on first and second, Adam Duncan laced a single into the gap in right center sending pinch runner Denny Szalai (LaGrange/Keystone) home with the game-winning run as Bluffton took the opener, 4-3, in walk-off fashion!
On the mound and picking up the victory for the Beavers was DANTE D'ANDREA (Westerville/North) who would improve to 5-2 on the season with the win. Going 5.0 innings and tossing 76 pitches in relief, the junior hurler allowed only one earned run off two hits while striking out four with two walks.
After a short break, the teams would get right back into action for the second contest of the day. Bluffton was able to strike in the bottom of the first after a sacrifice fly by RYAN GOLDEN (Findlay) picked up Chase Lawniczak. However, a pair of runs by the Ravens in the top of the second made it 2-1. The home team knotted the game up at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth after an error by Anderson scored Parker Reynolds.
In the eighth inning, the Ravens put up three runs for a seemingly comfortable 5-2 edge, but Bluffton would get the bottom of the side started with a REID RUHL (Hamilton) RBI double to cut the deficit to two. After a fielding error by Anderson sent home two more runs for the Beavers an RBI single by GARRETT O'REILLY (Galena/Orange) made the score 6-5 in favor of the good guys! JACOB LATKOFSKY (Temperance, Mich./Ida) drove home another run for Bluffton after getting hit by a pitch as the Beavers opened a 7-5 advantage headed into the ninth. The home team's defense did its thing to nail down a 7-5 victory as well as Bluffton's first HCAC sweep of the season.
Despite getting out-hit 8-5, Bluffton's offense was able to take advantage of the three Raven errors en route to the win. Collecting a hit and an RBI in the contest were Chase Lawniczak, Jacob Latkofsky and Reid Ruhl. Sophomore Parker Reynolds scored twice for the victors.
Picking up the win on the hill was junior JACK BONDY (Avon), who moved to 4-2 on the year. Bondy did not allow a hit in his 1.2 innings of shutout relief.
Next up for the Beavers is a home matchup against Ohio Northern on Thursday, April 26 with a first pitch set for 4:15 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!