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Bluffton opens HCAC play with 7-4 win at Hanover

March 20, 2009

HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team rode a six-run fourth inning to a 7-4 victory over host Hanover College in the Heartland Conference opener for both teams on Friday, March 20, 2009. The Beavers improved to 6-7 on the year while Hanover fell to 6-10-1 overall and 0-1 in the HCAC.

After being set down in order each of the first three innings, Bluffton reponded to Hanover's two-run third with six runs on eight hits in the top of the fourth. Mike Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) and Corey Conn (London)  opened the frame with a pair of singles. Following a fielder's choice with Cody McPherson (Northwood/Millbury Lake) at the plate, Stephen Torres (Lima/Juan Diego) singled home Conn. With the Beavers down by one, freshman Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northeastern) delivered the big shot, a three-run homer to right field for a 4-2 lead.

Curtis Schroeder (Shelby) continued the hit parade with a double to left field and he came around to score on Nick Broyles' (Toledo/Whitmer) base hit to right. Broyles moved up 90 feet on a Hanover error and he crossed the plate when freshman Greg Bergstedt (Napoleon/Patrick Henry) singled to left field, making it 6-2 in favor of the visitors.

A Kyle Trainer (Mechanicsburg) RBI single to center in the sixth plated Nick Broyles who stole second and moved to third on a passed ball following his fielder's choice.

The Panthers trimmed the deficit to three runs, 7-4, with a pair of ninth-inning scores, but Tyler Stephenson nailed down the Bluffton victory by inducing a Hanover flyout to end the game.

Cody McPherson improved to 2-0 on the season with seven superb innings on the mound. He held Hanover to two runs on just four hits with three strikeouts. Stephenson, who worked to the final batter in the ninth, went 2-of-4 at the dish with a three-run dinger in the fourth. Ramthun, Conn and Schroeder all added two hits each in the win. Nick Broyles scored two runs for the Beavers.

Bluffton will play two more games at Hanover on Saturday, March 21. The first contest is slated to start at 12 p.m.