April 8, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball squad returned to its home turf to face off against the top team in the HCAC, the Franklin College Grizzlies, on a frigid Sunday, April 8. A late-inning explosion by the visiting team gave them a 13-4 victory over the Beavers in game one. Bluffton would fight back in the second game with a 6-5 win that moved them to 14-9 (3-3 HCAC) on the season while snapping Franklin's (20-2, 5-1 HCAC) nine-game winning streak in the process!
The Grizzlies opened game one with two runs in the top of the third to take a 2-0 lead on the Beavers. Bluffton answered in the bottom of the fourth inning with a CHASE LAWNICZAK (Toledo/Whitmer) single that scored RYAN GOLDEN (Findlay) before an RBI by REID MAUS (Hamilton/Badin) evened the game up at 2-2.
Franklin scored single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to take a 4-2 advantage on the Beavers. After a scoreless seventh, Bluffton was able to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth following RBI's by COLIN GREGORY (Fremont/Clyde) and JACOB LATKOFSKY (Temperance, Mich./Ida) which tied the game back up at 4-4.
The Franklin offense had a scoring outburst in the top of the ninth, plating a total of nine runs to take a commanding 13-4 lead on the Beavers. Bluffton was unable to answer in the bottom of the side as they dropped game one to FC.
Jacob Latkofsky went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run in the first game of the double-header. Sophomore BRYCE FINK (Medina) added a pair of hits and scored a run. Colin Gregory and Reid Maus each drove in runs for the Beavers.
Dropping to 0-1 on the season was CAM CLARK (Cairo/Bath) who allowed four runs off four hits in 3.0 innings of relief. Netting 60 pitches on the day, the sophomore hurler notched two strikeouts while walking a pair of batters. DANTE D'ANDREA (Westerville/North) fanned four batters in his 5.0 innings of work.
After a half-hour break, the teams would kick right back into action for the second game of the afternoon. Bluffton scored in the second following a Bryce Fink triple that picked up Lawniczak from second. The 1-0 lead would be short lived as a two-run homer by Franklin in the top of the third gave the visiting team a 2-1 advantage.
The Beavers knotted the score at 2-2 after a sacrifice fly by Colin Gregory. Bluffton then took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth after JON DOERING (Constantine, Mich.) smoked a towering shot to right center, recording his first career collegiate home run!
The Grizzlies jumped ahead with three runs in the top of the eighth for a 5-3 lead. Trailing by two runs headed into the bottom of the frame, Bluffton got its offense rolling with a LENNY WINIARSKI (Cincinnati/LaSalle) RBI groundout to cut the deficit to 5-4. The Beavers added two more in the inning after a Bryce Fink infield single and a throwing error by Franklin gave them a 6-5 lead entering the ninth. The Grizzlies loaded the bases with two outs but the home team was able to escape the game with a 6-5 win, handing Franklin its first conference loss of the year.
Fink was a perfect 4-of-4 at the dish with two RBI and a run scored. Chase Lawniczak smacked three hits and scored two runs for the victors. Junior Jon Doering recorded a run, a hit and an RBI in the outing.
Securing the victory was sophomore COLBY CLIFTON (Ohio City/Crestview) who improved to 2-2 on the season following his 1.0 inning of work. The sophomore allowed three runs off five hits while recording one strikeout. TOMMY SIEMER (Liberty Twp./Lakota East) turned in a superb start, fanning four batters while allowing just two runs in seven innings on the bump.
The Beavers will kick right back into action on Tuesday, March 10, when they host Olivet with a first pitch set for 4:15.