April 16, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team fell behind rival Defiance 5-0 midway through the sixth before the Beavers rallied for a stunning 7-6 walkoff victory thanks to three runs in the seventh and three more in the ninth on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Bluffton improved to 14-13 overall and 7-8 in the Heartland Conference as it wrapped up its eight-game homestand with a 6-2 mark following a season sweep of the Jackets. Defiance dipped to 8-20 overall and 2-13 in the HCAC.
Bluffton fell behind 5-0, leaving eight runners on base through the first five innings before taking advantage of a pair of Defiance errors in the bottom of the sixth. An overturned call at first drew both coaches out of the dugout, but Coach Grandey walked away happy when the home plate umpire ruled Michael Alexander (Monroe) safe at first as fellow junior Mike Castro (Reynoldsburg) crossed the dish.
Back-to-back walks and a Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) single loaded the bases with no out in the seventh. Castro picked up Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) with an RBI groundout, making the score 5-2. Tim Webb (Delaware/Worthington Christian) and Townley headed for home following Cade Randolph's (Marengo/Highland) base knock to right.
Defiance tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, setting the stage for Bluffton's stunning comeback in the bottom of the frame. A walk to Webb and then another Defiance error put runners on the corners for pinch hitter Tyler Spalding (Willis, Mich./Lincoln). The junior took advantage with an RBI single down the left field line. One out later, consecutive run-scoring hits by Christian Vail (Lucas) and Jeff Roth (Bellevue) sent the Beavers onto the field in jubilation as the home team scored a 7-6 walkoff victory.
Freshman Corey Johnson (Waverly) worked three outstanding innings of relief for his first victory of the season. He allowed one run on three hits while tossing 40 pitches, 28 for strikes. Johnson struck out two and did not walk a batter. Starter Dyson Bowman (Coshocton) gave up three runs, two earned, on eight hits in five innings.
Randolph and Vail powered the Beavers with three hits apiece from the bottom of the order. David Ianiro (Highland Heights/Mayfield) and Hickey chipped in with two hits each, while Tim Webb scored twice.
Bluffton will travel to Anderson University this weekend for a three- game series with the Ravens. The first contest of a Good Friday doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m. on April 18.