March 24, 2018
ADRIAN, Mich. - The Bluffton University softball team traveled to Adrian College on Saturday, March 24, to do battle with the Bulldogs. A 6-3 victory in the lidlifter and an 18-13 seventh-inning lead in game two had the visitors on the verge of a sweep before Adrian rallied for six runs and a 19-18 victory, making it a split for the Beavers. Bluffton improved to 5-12 on the season while Adrian is now 7-5.
Bluffton struck first in the top of the second when CHELSEA ZOLTOWSKI (Sylvania/Southview) singled home fellow senior JOSIE MCELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) who ripped a double to lead off the frame. The Beavers added three more runs an inning later when BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) singled home CASEY CLARK (Lima/Central Cathlic) and COURTNEY JASINSKI (Englewood/Northmont) followed with a two-run single through the right side.
The home team responded with a run in the bottom of the third and two more an inning later, making it 4-3 going to the fifth. That score held until the seventh when Jasinski came up big again, this time driving a two-run double to the wall in right center. Huff and McElroy both crossed the dish as the Beavers pushed the score to 6-3.
Senior hurler NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) did the rest as she capped off her complete-game effort with three groundouts to secure the victory. Thomas allowed three runs on 10 hits with five walks and a strikeout as she upped her mark to 3-4 on the season.
Jasinski went 2-of-4 with four RBI to lead the Bluffton offense. Huff added two hits and scored twice. McElroy drew two walks and went 1-of-2 with two runs scored.
Adrian bolted out to a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning in game two before the Bluffton bats caught fire in the top of the fourth. Senior MERCEDES BURNS (Ashtabula/Edgewood) laced a two-run triple down the right field line to get the party started. MEGAN HILL (Arcadia) picked up Burns with an RBI groundout. Schmidt scored on an Adrian error and Brittany Huff made it 7-6 with her bomb to right field!
The home team pushed a run across in the bottom of the fourth, making it 8-6 going to the fifth inning. Bluffton continued to rake with six more runs in the top of the fifth. A CAYLIN MORSTADT (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) RBI-single pulled Bluffton back within one before a three-run no-doubter to center by Josie McElroy gave the Beavers their first lead of the game. Jasinski doubled and Zoltowski followed with a two-run homer to center as the visitors upped their lead to 12-8!
A three-run bottom of the frame made the score 12-11 heading to the sixth where Burns continued her torrid hitting with a leadoff single. Freshman RILEY LANGSTAFF (Findlay) picked her up with a double to right center and then she came around following MAKENZIE SCHMIDT'S (Caledonia/River Valley) base knock to right field. Huff launched her second homer of the game and McElroy was not to be outdone as she followed suit with her second tater in as many innings for a 17-11 lead!
With Bluffton up 17-13 in the seventh, Burns crossed the dish for an 18-13 edge when Schmidt stole second and the throw sailed into center field. Unfortunately, Bluffton was unable to hold the comfortable five-run lead as Adrian took advantage of three errors to rally for a 19-18 victory and series split.
Burns had a career day, going 4-of-5 with a triple, a double, four runs scored and two RBI. Huff and McElroy both belted two homers while driving in four runs apiece. Huff scored three times and Morstadt finished with three hits and two runs scored.
Game one starter Nicole Thomas was forced into action in the 7th after Bluffton went through its pitching arsenal and she took the hard-luck loss (3-5), allowing six runs, but just two earned, in 1.2 innings of relief.
Bluffton returns to action on Tuesday, March 27, when the Beavers host Calvin College for a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader. Come out and support your Beavers!