By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team split a pair in a Heartland Conference matchup with Earlham College on Wednesday, April 3. The Quakers took game one, 8-3, before the Beavers rebounded with a 9-7 triumph in game two. Bluffton moved to 11-11 overall and 2-2 in the Heartland Conference, while Earlham stands at 9-12 and 1-3 in the HCAC.
A Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) RBI single in the third followed by a Parker Reynolds (Avon) two-run base knock gave the Beavers a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the top half of the fourth. Unfortunately, that turned out to be Bluffton's only runs of the game. Earlham took a 5-3 lead into the ninth and added three more, making the final 8-3 in favor of the Quakers.
Freshman Carson Curnutte (Hilliard/Davidson) fell to 1-2 after allowing three runs on four hits in three innings of relief. Junior Tommy Siemer (Liberty Twp./Lakota East) went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits while also fanning four.
The Beavers found themselves in a 4-0 hole in game two. But in the bottom of the fourth inning, Bluffton found its groove. Reynolds would get things going with a run-scoring double. Freshman Zane Martin (Ottoville) singled home Reynolds, making the score 4-2. An Adam Duncan two-bagger plated two more while tying things up 4-4 heading into the fifth.
After holding the Quakers scoreless in the top half of the fifth, Bluffton aded two more in the bottom half thanks to a Gregory two-run bomb to left field that would make the score 6-4 in favor of the good guys. Earlham got those two runs back in the top half of the seventh on a sacrifice fly and a fielder's choice.
In the bottom half of the seventh the Beavers again scored two runs. Martin drew a bases-loaded walk that pushed Jeff Strayer (Columbus/Thomas Worthington) across the plate, making it 7-6. Gregory would than score on a wild pitch for an 8-6 advantage. Earlham cut the deficit in half in the top of the eighth, but the Beavers tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half with a Reynolds RBI double that would ultimately seal the deal (9-7) for the Beavers.
Gregory went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Reynolds was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) notched the win despite giving up two runs on two hits in 1.2 innings of work. Junior Cam Clark (Cairo/Bath) set down nine Quakers and allowed four runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. Freshman Zac Nobis (Bryan) closed it out for his first career save.
Bluffton will be back in action on Saturday, April 6, when they travel to Franklin College to take on the Grizzlies. Game one is slated for 12 p.m.