By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team kicked off play in Ohio with a non-conference doubleheader against Oberlin College on Monday, March 18. The Beavers dropped the first game by the score of 12-2 as Oberlin dominated from start to finish. The second contest saw as the Beavers lose a tough one by the score of 6-5 in five innings. The Beavers are now 2-10 on the season, while Oberlin evened its record at 2-2.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Oberlin put up two runs in the top of the second, capitalizing on a Bluffton error. They added one more run in the top of the third for a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Kelsey Reeder (Galion/Northmor) singled to left field with two outs. Sophomore Sydney Bowen (Convoy/Crestview) doubled to left center, scoring Reeder and cutting the deficit to 3-1 after three innings of action.
The Yeowomen responded by doubling their run total in the top of the fourth for a 6-1 spread after the Yeowomen drilled a three-run bomb. In the top of the fifth, they added one more, widening their lead to 7-1. The Beavers continued to battle in the bottom of the frame. Bowen stepped up to the plate with Molly Bollinger (Lima/Shawnee) on second base after walking and stealing a base. Bowen rapped her second two-bagger of the game down the right field line, scoring Bollinger and making the score 7-2.
Oberlin added one more run in the top of the sixth and four more in the top of the seventh to cap off the 12-2 victory. The Beavers failed to get a hit in the last two innings.
Bowen went 2-for-3 in the game with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Junior Caylin Morstadt (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) was 1-for-2 and Reeder went 1-of-3. Sophomore Katie McCord (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) got the start for the Beavers. She went 3.1 innings and gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits. Courtney Jasinski (Englewood/Northmont) finished the game, tossing 3.2 innings while allowing seven runs on 11 hits.
The Yeowomen finished with a 17-4 edge in hits.
Oberlin struck first again in game two as they scored one in the top of the second inning. Bluffton answered back in the bottom of the second. Tabatha Koetter (Beavercreek) started the inning off with a leadoff walk. Sophomore Riley Langstaff (Findlay) singled to center field, moving Koetter to third base after a sacrifice bunt. With two outs in the inning, Reeder stepped to the plate with a sense of urgency and she rocketed a triple down the right field line that scored both Koetter and Langstaff! The Beavers were ahead 2-1 at the end of two.
After holding Oberlin scoreless in the top of the third, Bluffton continued cracking the bats in the bottom half of the third inning. Morstadt and Taylor Steinke (Findlay) were on second and third with two outs when sophomore Annie McCrate (Westerville) delivered a two-run single up the gut that scored both runners and made it 4-1 after three rounds.
The Yeowomen didn't spend time feeling sorry for themselves, scoring three runs to knot the score at 4-4, including two of the runs with two outs. Bluffton responded with two outs in the home fifth when Morstadt smoked a double to left field, moving Jasinski to third before a passed ball made it 5-4 Bluffton heading to the fifth.
Oberlin stepped up once again, scoring two in the top of the fifth and capturing the lead for good at 6-5. The teams were only able to play five innings as daylight evaporated midway through the sixth frame.
Langstaff was a perfect 3-for-3 with a run scored. Reeder went 2-of-3 with two RBI. Bollinger got the start and tossed 3.2 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits. McCord pitched the final 1.1 innings, allowing two runs and two hits. She fell to 2-5 on the season.
Oberlin finished with three more hits than the Beavers (11-8). Bluffton stranded seven, failing to capitalize on several key opportunities.
The Beavers will be back in action on Thursday, March 21, when they play host to Albion College from the MIAA. The first game is set to start at 2 p.m. with the game two approximately 20 minutes after the end of the lidlifter. Come out and support your Bluffton softball team!