By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
WESTERVILLE, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team held off Otterbein 7-6 on Wednesday, March 20. Bluffton improved to 7-7 on the season, while Otterbein slipped back to .500 at 7-7 overall.
With bases loaded in the top of the third inning, freshman Cale Sherbourne (Johnstown/Big Walnut) took one for the team when he was hit by a pitch which pushed Bryce Fink (Medina) across the plate and tied the game 1-1. The Cardinals responded with three runs in the fourth, making it 4-1 heading into the fifth inning.
Sophomore Reid Ruhl (Hamilton) got things started in the top half of the fifth when he scored on wild pitch that also saw Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) move to third. Sherbourne picked up Gregory on a single through the left side that made it 4-3 at the end of five.
In the top half of the sixth the Beavers continued their scoring ways when Jeff Strayer (Columbus/Thomas Worthington) jetted home following a Jaxon Rogan (Marysville) bunt, tying the score at 4-4. A Bryce Fink (Medina) ground ball to second base plated Adam Duncan (Northwood/Lake) before Ruhl's single through the right side picked up Rogan, making it 6-4 midway through the sixth.
Bluffton would score one more run in the seventh and held off a valiant comeback attempt (7-6) as the Cardinals loaded the bases with just one down in the ninth.
Ruhl went 2-for-4 on the day, knocking in one run while Sherbourne drove in two runs. Strayer crossed the dish twice in the victory. Sophomore Garrett O'Reilly (Galena/Orange) improved to 1-1 after allowing four runs on eight hits. He fanned six in six innings of work. Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) notched the save, his second of the year, after fellow senior Brantley Curnutte (Hilliard/Davidson) allowed two runs in two innings of relief.
Bluffton will be back in action on Saturday, March 23, when the Beavers play host to Wittenberg University for non-conference doubleheader. The first game is slated for 1 p.m. and the second contest will follow shortly after the conclusion of game one. Come out and support your Beavers!