By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team had a nonconference doubleheader on Sunday, April 7 when it hosted Ohio Wesleyan. The Beavers got the best of OWU in game one, 10-4, before dropping the finale by an 8-6 count. Bluffton moved to 6-18 on the year, while Ohio Wesleyan improved to 7-17 overall.
After a scoreless first inning, Ohio Wesleyan got the bats cracking as they scored three in the top of the second. The Beavers would have an answer in the home half of the frame. Riley Langstaff (Findlay) hit a double to right field that moved Casey Clark (Lima/Central Catholic) to third. Taylor Steinke (Findlay) reached on a fielder's choice and Clark scurried home to put up the first run of the game for the Beavers. Freshman Molly Bollinger (Lima/Shawnee) stepped to the plate and singled to center field, scoring Langstaff before Kelsey Reeder (Galion/Northmor) singled to center, scoring Steinke. The game was knotted at three after two innings.
In the bottom of the third the Beavers did some more damage. With two outs in the inning, Clark stepped up to the plate and sliced a double to center field, scoring Megan Hill (Arcadia) from second base, after she reached on an error by Ohio Wesleyan.
The Beavers weren't satisfied with the one-run lead. With two outs in the inning, Bluffton struck some more magic. Sydney Bowen (Convoy/Crestview) singled to get Steinke home from third base after she doubled to left field. Caylin Morstadt (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) singled through the left side, scoring Bowen. Later on in the inning, Hill drilled a triple down the right field line, scoring Morstadt from second base. And to finish off the explosive frame, Clark spanked another double to score Hill, giving the Beavers a commanding 9-3 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan added one run in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit to 9-4. But Bluffton answered right back in the bottom half of the inning when Morstadt hit a solo shot to left field, clearing the scoreboard and extending the lead to 10-4.
Four Beavers went 2-for-4, including Clark, Hill, Morstadt, and Reeder. Seven different Beavers recorded an RBI and a run scored, as it was a total team effort in the victory. Bollinger got the start on the mound, pitching six innings and giving up four runs on eight hits for the victory. She upped her mark to 2-3 on the year. Katie McCord (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) finished the game, tossing the final inning.
Ohio Wesleyan struck first in game two with a solo home run in the top of the second inning. The Beavers struggled the first two innings at the plate, but in the third they started to get the bats warmed up. After Steinke singled up the middle, Annie McCrate (Westerville/South) doubled to right center and scored Steinke. Bowen poked a single to left center, scoring McCrate and giving the Beavers the lead. Courtney Jasinski (Englewood/Northmont) hit a single that ended up scoring Bowen from first base after an error committed by the visitors. Morstadt doubled home Jasinski and to cap off the impressive offensive inning, Hill singled to left field, scoring Morstadt from second base. The Beavers now had a 5-1 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan added one into the scoring column in the top of the fourth thanks to another solo shot. The Beavers responded in the bottom of the fifth as Hill stepped to the plate and clocked a double, scoring Jasinski, who started off the inning with a two-bagger giving the Beavers a commanding 6-2 lead going into the top of the sixth.
The visitors knew that they had to put the ball in play and start getting some hits to have a chance to come back. And in the top of the sixth, they did just that. They scored three runs to cut the deficit to 6-5. After the Beavers had a scoreless bottom of the sixth, the visitors would have one last chance to try to get a split.
Unfortunately for the Beavers, Ohio Wesleyan seized the moment and scored three more, all unearned, in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of two errors committed by Bluffton in the inning. The Beavers were unable to spark anything in the bottom half of the seventh as the visitors stole game two, 8-6.
McCrate was a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Jasinski, Morstadt and Hill all went 2-of-4 at the plate. McCrate got the start at the mound, pitching five innings while giving up five runs on seven hits. Alexis Montemarano (Brook Park) finished the final two innings in the circle, giving up three unearned runs on three hits.
The Beavers will be back in action on Wednesday, April 10, when they travel to the other purple team's house, Defiance College. The first game is set to start at 3 PM. Go out and support your Beavers!