By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team split a pair of one-run decisions with Albion on a cold Thursday, March 21. Bluffton moves to 3-11 on the season, while Albion stands at 7-9 following the first games for the Britons since their trip to Florida.
The Beavers came up just short in the lidlifter, falling by the score of 2-1 despite a complete-game six hitter tossed by freshman Molly Bollinger (Lima/Shawnee).
Bluffton had a legitimate scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth when the Beavers loaded the bases with just one down following base hits by Sydney Bowen (Convoy/Crestview) and Courtney Jasinski (Englewood/Northmont) sandwiched around a walk to Caylin Morstadt (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes). Albion slammed the door and immediately cashed in with a leadoff homer by Rebecca Rodriguez in the top of the fifth. The Britons added a crucial second run in the inning for a 2-0 lead.
Bluffton finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Morstadt doubled with one out in the inning. Fellow junior Megan Hill (Arcadia) followed with a single down the left field line, scoring Morstadt from second base. The Beavers were three up and three down in the seventh as Albion escaped with a 2-1 victory in the opener.
Bowen went 2-for-3 to lead the Bluffton offense. Bollinger slipped to 0-2 despite giving up just two runs on six hits in her complete-game effort.
Game two bore no resemblance to game one as the Britons exploded with four runs in the first inning and three more in the second en route to an 8-0 lead midway through inning three. It was then that the tables started to tilt in Bluffton's favor ever so slightly.
The Beavers loaded the bases after two quick outs to start the inning. Morstadt followed with a two-run double down the left field line before Hill's shot to the second baseman was to much to handle, allowing two more runs to cross the dish.
An RBI single by senior Casey Clark (Lima/Central Catholic) made it 9-5 in favor of Albion heading to the sixth inning where Hill did more damage to the Britons with a three-run laser to center that made the score 9-8 with just one inning to play.
Bluffton worked around a two-out double in the top of the seventh, keeping it a one-run game as the Beavers came up in the home half of the frame. A dropped popup by Albion came back to haunt the visitors when Morstadt doubled to the wall in center field with two outs, scoring Clark and Bowen all the way from first for the walkoff two-bagger!
Morstadt went 2-of-4 with four RBI, while Hill was 2-of-4 with three RBI. Reeder and Bowen chipped in with two runs apiece. Reeder, Jasinski and Clark all notched two safeties for the victors. Alexis Montemarano (Brook Park/Berea-Midpark) was sensational in relief, allowing just two runs and five hits in 5.2 innings of work while earning the win.
Bluffton will travel to Alma College on Sunday, March 24, for a twin-bill with the Scots. Game one is slated for 1 p.m.