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Franklin secures HCAC title with sweep of Beavers

May 2, 2009

FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team dropped a pair of contests at Franklin College on Saturday, May 2, after Friday's game was moved to Sunday due to rain that blanketed much of the Midwest. The Beavers fell to 12-24 overall and 6-15 in the Heartland Conference, while Franklin improved to 28-8 and 17-3 in the HCAC.

Franklin 7, Bluffton 4

Bluffton plated a run in the first and two more in the second to open a 3-1 lead after two innings. Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) led off the first with a double down the left field line and he moved to third on a Chris Bauman (Milford) ground ball. Cody McPherson (Northwood/Millbury Lake) picked up the RBI with his groundout to third base.

Corey Conn (London) followed Broyles' example with a leadoff double in the second and one out later, Mike Ramthun's (Springfield/Southeastern) two-bagger to left made it 2-1. Freshman Cory Stephens (Lima/Bath) knocked in Ramthun when he lifted a sacrifice fly to center following a Franklin passed ball.

The Grizzlies cut the deficit in half in the third, but Conn pushed the Bluffton lead back to two with his solo homer in the top of the fourth.

Franklin took advantage of three hits, an intentional walk, a wild pitch and a hit batter to score four runs in the bottom of the fifth and the home team tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to open the series with a 7-4 victory over the Beavers.

Broyles and Conn, who scored twice, both finished with two hits. James Hausman (Milford) took the loss after giving up five runs on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Cody McPherson worked two innings of relief in the loss, allowing two runs with two strikeouts.

Franklin 12, Bluffton 5

Franklin jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in game two on the strength of a single and two home runs in the first three batters for the Grizzlies.

Bluffton responded with four runs in the top of the second for a 4-3 lead over the home team. With two outs and nobody on, Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) went yard to right field. Stephen Torres (Lima/Juan Diego) followed with a double and he came around on a Stephens base hit up the middle. Allen Slabaugh (Dalton) was hit by a pitch and Mike Ramthun made Franklin pay with a two-run double to left center.

A three-run third by the home team made it 6-4 and Franklin never looked back, scoring in four of the next five frames in opening up a comfortable 12-4 margin. Stephenson crossed the plate in the ninth on a Franklin pickoff play, but the Grizzlies completed the Saturday sweep with a 12-5 victory.

Stephenson, who crossed the plate twice, and Torres both connected for two safeties while Ramthun drove in a pair of runs in game two. Matt Perkins (Convoy/Crestview) fell to 2-4 on the season after allowing nine runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings. He struck out two and walked three batters.

The Beavers wrap up the series and their season at Franklin on Sunday, May 3, 2009. The contest is slated for 12 p.m.