May 2, 2014
By: Josh Burkholder, sports information assistant
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University baseball team ran into a roadblock on its way to a Heartland Conference tournament berth when host Franklin College routed the Beavers 10-1 on Friday, May 2, 2014. Bluffton is still in position to do what needs to be done, but the Beavers must sweep Franklin when the teams hook up for the final regular season doubleheader on Saturday, May 3.
A four-run third inning by the home team proved to be more than Franklin would need as the Grizzlies used a Bluffton error, a sacrifice bunt, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly to plate four runs, just one earned, despite only two hits in the frame.
Franklin added two in the fourth and three more in the sixth en route to a commanding 9-0 lead in the crucial Friday night conference series opener. Bluffton finally broke up the shutout with a solo tally in the eighth as freshman standout Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer) crossed the plate when Jake Townley (Mansfield/Madison) lifted a sacrifice fly to left. The Grizzlies tacked on one more score in the bottom of the inning for a 10-1 final.
Junior Nate Simonds (Ypsilanti, Mich./Lincoln) slipped to 3-6 on the season after giving up nine runs, six earned, on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work. He struck out four and walked four. Freshman Austin Every (Zanesville/West Muskingum) held the Grizzlies to one unearned run in two innings of solid relief.
The Beavers still have the opportunity to extend their season when they take the diamond in Franklin on Saturday, May 3. A road sweep of the Grizzlies would likely send Bluffton into a first round Heartland Conference tournament matchup at Manchester University on Thursday, May 8. Follow the live stats from Franklin starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday when the Beavers continue their critical series with tournament implications!