By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team found its swing in game two as the Beavers notched a Heartland Conference series split with Hanover on a beautiful Monday, April 22, 2019. Bluffton moved to 17-16 overall and 6-6 in the HCAC, while Hanover improved to 11-15 and 3-7 in the conference.
Two late runs were not enough in the opener as Hanover scored all it needed with a fourth-inning grand slam. The Panthers tacked on a solo shot in the sixth for a 5-0 lead.
Junior Adam Duncan (Northwood/Lake) singled home Parker Reynolds (Avon) in the eighth before Jeff Strayer (Columbus/Thmoas Worthington) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, making it 5-2 when Zane Martin (Ottoville) crossed the dish. Hanover worked around a Reynolds base hit in the ninth to take the opener by a 5-2 count.
Freshman Carson Curnutte (Hilliard/Hilliard Davidson) took the tough-luck loss after allowing five runs on eight hits in six innings of work. Senior Jack Bondy was sensational in his three innings of relief, fanning three while allowing just one hit.
Reynolds went 3-of-4 with a run scored, while Jaxon Rogan (Marysville) chipped with two hits.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the third, a Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) base hit plated Strayer and Reynolds doubled home Gregory to tie the game 2-2 heading to the fourth frame.
Jacob Latkofsky (Temperence, MI/Ida) made it 4-2 with his two-run single in the fifth before Bluffton exploded for four scores an inning later. Rogan did the damage with his three-run double to the wall in left center as Bluffton opened an 8-2 lead.
Rogan plated pinch runner Elisha Tressler (Bryan) with a sacrifice fly in the seventh and Reynolds drove in Strayer and Latkofsky as the Beavers earned the split with an 11-2 victory in game two.
Garrett O'Reilly (Galena/Orange) took top billing with a standout performance on the hill, going seven innings and allowing just two runs on three hits with six strikeouts. Seniors Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) and Jordan Stutzman (Millersburg/West Holmes) closed it out with a pair of shutout innings on Senior Day!
Reynolds finished his monster 7-of-9 afternoon with a 4-of-5 clinic in game two. He also drove in three runs. Rogan added four RBI, while Latkofsky chipped in with two. Duncan and Lenny Winiarski (Cincinnati/LaSalle) chipped in with two runs scored and Strayer crossed the dish three times with two hits.
Bluffton is back at Memorial Field in a few short hours when the Beavers host Manchester University in another Heartland Conference doubleheader. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23.