By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
April 18, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team dropped a double-header to Heartland Conference rival Rose-Hulman on Saturday, April 18, thanks to an outstanding Engineer performance at the plate. The Beavers dropped to 10-19 overall and 4-11 in the conference, while the Engineers improved to 22-11 this season and 12-6 in the HCAC.
The Beavers started off the first game on the right foot as the very first Bluffton batter, freshman outfielder Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer), homered to right center. However, that was the only run the Beavers managed in the lidlifter. Rose-Hulman crushed the Beavers, 13-1, thanks to five Bluffton errors and 14 hits, compared to just six hits for Bluffton.
Rose-Hulman pounded out nine hits and 10 runs off Bluffton starter Matt Perkins (Convoy/Crestview). Perkins (2-3) walked two batters and picked up three strikeouts before freshman pitcher Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Toledo Christian) came on in the sixth. Barnes gave up three runs and five hits over the final 1.1 innings.
The Beavers once again started off the first inning with a solo home run, this time by Cody McPherson (Northwood/Millbury Lake) over the left center wall. Rose-Hulman subdued the Bluffton offense as the Engineers went on an 18-0 spurt during innings three through six, including a grand slam by Rose-Hulman slugger Tim Tepe who was 8-of-12 for the weekend.
Down 18-1 in the bottom of the seventh, freshman catcher Jaryd Kovacs (Gahanna/Westerville North) singled to third base and advanced to second on a base knock by senior outfielder Allen Slabaugh (Dalton). Aaron Koonce (Toledo/Start) then singled up the middle, giving Kovacs the green light for home.
In the eighth inning, Greg Bergstedt (Napoleon/Patrick Henry) was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a rip down the left line by Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern). Bergstedt scored and Stephenson went to third thanks to a double to left center by sophomore Brett Howard (Toledo/St. Francis DeSales). Kyle Maran (Toledo/Start) sent Stephenson racing home on a single to right field. Howard capitalized on a double play and crossed the plate for the last Bluffton run of the night as the Beavers lost to Rose-Hulman, 20-5.
Both Maran and Slabaugh went 2-for-2 at the plate while the Bluffton offense collected four RBI in the third and final game of the conference series with Rose-Hulman. Tyler Stephenson and Brett Howard finished with two safeties apiece.
McPherson struggled for his second consecutive start, giving up nine runs on 10 Engineer hits while fanning three batters. Ryan Luegers (Botkins) and Ryan Nollen (Lebanon) allowed four Rose-Hulman runs each.
Bluffton returns to action on Tuesday, April 21, as the Beavers face their biggest rival, Defiance College. The conference clash is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Memorial Field.