By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
TITUSVILLE, Fla. - The Bluffton University softball squad kicked off its 2019 campaign against Saint Joseph's (Me.) and WPI. Saint Joseph's offense was too much for Bluffton to handle in game one as they put up double digits in runs, doubling the Beavers runs in the 10-5 win. WPI capped off day one with a 9-1 victory, sending Bluffton to a 0-2 start for the season.
Saint Joseph's scored three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-0 lead over the Beavers. In the bottom of the third, they added two more runs to take a 5-0 lead after three innings.
Bluffton finally cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning when Caylin Morstadt (Delaware) scored on a fielder's choice. She led off the inning with a base knock as the Beavers cut the deficit to 5-1. However, in the bottom of the fourth, Saint Joseph's kept the offense rolling as they plated two more, making it 7-1 after four innings.
Sydney Bowen (Convoy) and Morstadt both singled in the fifth inning, putting runners on first and second. With two outs in the inning, Bluffton was in desperate need of a big play. Megan Hill (Arcadia) delivered just that when she launched a three-run bomb over the left field fence, cutting the deficit to just three runs, 7-4. Saint Joseph's answered back with three scores of their own, distancing themselves from Bluffton with a 10-4 lead after five innings.
In the top of the sixth, Kelsey Reeder (Galion) doubled to left center. Bowen's single moved Reeder to third before Morstadt picked her up with a sacrifice fly, making the final score 10-5 in favor of St. Joseph's.
Morstadt and Hill both went 2-for-3 in game one. Morstadt scored two runs, while Hill had three RBI. Bowen went 2-of-4 and scored a run. Brianna Baker (Defiance) contributed an RBI for the Beavers.
St. Joseph's (14) and Bluffton (12) combined for 26 hits as the bats looked to be in mid-season form. Katie McCord (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) took the loss in the opener, allowing seven runs on 10 hits in four innings of work. She struck out two and walked five.
Game two saw WPI get on the board quickly as they put up two runs in the top of the first. The second inning was deja vu with WPI putting up two more to make the lead 4-0 over the Beavers. Bluffton punched one across in the bottom of the second when a Casey Clark (Lima) ground ball RBI sent Riley Langstaff (Findlay) home for the score. The Beavers trailed 4-1 after two.
Bluffton was still within striking distance, down 5-1 after four, but the Engineers capped off a dominant performance by putting up four more tallies in the top of the seventh for a 9-1 victory.
Reeder, Courtney Jasinski (Englewood) and Taylor Steineke (Findlay) all rapped hits for the Beavers in game two. Freshman Mollie Bollinger (Lima/Shawnee) dropped her first collegiate start, but went the distance, giving up nine runs, six earned, on 12 hits with five walks and two strikeouts.
They will be back in action on Monday, March 4, starting with Hood at 10 a.m. before meeting Heidelberg at 2:30 p.m. The rest of the Florida swing will be in Plant City.