By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
PLANT CITY, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball squad picked up on Wednesday where they left off Monday as they added another win to their record in a dominating 10-2 victory over Simmons in six innings. In game two, they revisited Saint Joseph's (Me.) and nearly exacted some revenge, but came up just short as the Beavers lost a hard fought game by the score of 7-6. Bluffton now stands 2-4 overall with two more days of action from Florida.
Simmons cracked the scoreboard in the top of the first when they put up a run. Bluffton would respond in the bottom half as Megan Hill (Arcadia) grounded out to second with the bases full, sending Kelsey Reeder (Galion/Northmor) home to knot the score at 1-1 after one inning.
Bluffton kept the pedal to the metal in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Reeder rocketed a double to left center that scored Riley Langstaff (Findlay). The scoreboard showed 2-1 in favor of the Beavers after two innings.
The bottom of the third got even better as Courtney Jasinski (Englewood/Northmont) walked to start the inning. Caylin Morstadt (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) was hit by a pitch, giving the Beavers runners at first and second with no outs. Brianna Baker (Defiance/Ayersville) doubled home both Jasinski and Morstadt, putting the Beavers ahead 4-1.
After three straight scoreless innings, Simmons cut the lead to 5-2 in favor of the Beavers. Bluffton did more damage in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Casey Clark (Lima/Central Catholic) stepped to the plate with Morstadt at third and Hill at first, and singled to second base, scoring Morstadt and moving Hill up 60 feet. The Beavers left the bases loaded to end the fifth, but they did get the bats warmed up with four hits in the inning.
After holding Simmons to another scoreless inning in the top of the sixth, Bluffton put away their opponents in the bottom of the frame. The Beavers put up five runs in the final half inning as the Beavers sent eight batters to the plate. The two big hits of the inning featured a Langstaff double to left center that scored Hill and Morstadt, making the score 8-2 and setting the stage for Clark who buried Simmons for good when she doubled down the left field line, plating Langstaff and Baker while ending the game due to the mercy-rule at 10-2!
Morstadt went a perfect 3-for-3 with a team-high three runs. Clark was 2-of-3 and drove in two runs for the victors. Langstaff finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Hill also went 2-of-4 with a run and an RBI. Sophomore Katie McCord (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) got her second win in as many starts, tossing all six innings while giving up just two runs.
Bluffton had 14 hits in 30 at-bats compared to eight hits in 24 at-bats for the Sharks.
Saint Joseph's drew first blood in game two when they put up one run in the bottom of the first. After the Beavers went scoreless again in the top of the second, Saint Joseph's dominated the bottom half with four more runs, stretching the lead to 5-0. They had seven hits in the inning and went through their entire lineup while carving up the Beavers from all angles.
In the top of the third the Beavers showed that they were not going to go down without a fight. Taylor Steinke (Findlay) led off the inning with a single down the right field line. Reeder drilled a triple to left field, scoring Steinke all the way from first base. Jasinski singled through the left side, scoring Reeder as the Beavers cut the deficit to 5-2 going into the bottom of the third. Saint Joseph's responded with two runs of their own (both coming with two outs). At the end of three, Saint Joseph's held a comfortable 7-2 lead.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Steinke singled to shortstop, scoring Baker from third base. Bluffton still trailed 7-3 at the end of four innings.
Bluffton played confident and aggressive at the plate in the fifth inning as they were locked in and focused. Sydney Bowen (Convoy/Crestview) drew a leadoff walk and Jasinski singled, putting runners on first and second with no outs. With Morstadt up to bat, Jasinski and Bowen stole second and third, and when the throw to third went into left field, Bowen trotted home and Jasinski slid into third. Morstadt then picked up Jasinski with her two-bagger to left field. Hill followed with another double which scored Morstadt as the Beavers cut the deficit to 7-6!
Unfortunately, that was the end of the scoring for both teams. Bluffton held Saint Joseph's scoreless the last three innings, but too much damage was done early on for the Beavers to recover.
Jasinski was on fire at the plate, going 3-for-4 in game two with an RBI. Steinke went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Morstadt also went 2-of-4 with an RBI.
Alexis Montemarano (Brook Park/Berea-Midpark) got the start for Bluffton, giving up four runs on five hits in 1.1 innings of action. Freshman Molly Bollinger (Lima/Shawnee) came on in relief, pitching 4.2 innings while giving up three runs and 11 hits.
Saint Joseph's finished with five more hits (16-11), but the Monks also made two more errors (3-1).
Bluffton will be back in action on Thursday, March 7, when they take on Muskingum at 11 a.m. before a 3:30 matchup with Penn St.-Behrend. Go Beavers!