BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team tied it in the eighth and took advantage of back-to-back Capital errors in the ninth to win their second game in three days on Tuesday, March 26! Bluffton evened up its record at 9-9, while the Crusaders fell to 4-12 overall.
Down 2-0 after the visitors took advantage of a pair of Bluffton errors in the top of the third, the Beavers answered right back with two runs of their own. Junior Adam Duncan (Northwood/Lake) singled home Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) before he and Reid Ruhl (Hamilton) perfectly executed a double steal that saw Ruhl cross the dish.
Gregory was in on the action an inning later when he was hit by a pitch with the sacks full for a 3-2 lead.
Three striaght walks to Capital forced two runs across in the seventh as the visitors turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead. With Bluffton struggling to move the chains on offense, Coach Grandey called freshman Zane Martin's (Ottoville) number to lead off the bottom of the eighth. He answered with a single up the middle. Pinch runner Elisha Tressler (Bryan) moved to second on a passed ball before Jeff Strayer's (Columbus/Thomas Worthington) third hit of the game knotted the score at 4-4.
Despite two quick outs to start the bottom of the ninth, back-to-back walks followed by a Capital bobble loaded the bases for Alex Lemanski (Miamisburg) who beat out the throw when the Crusaders misplayed their second straight ball, allowing Ruhl to scurry home for the game-winning run.
Strayer went 3-of-5 and Ruhl scored twice to pace the Bluffton offense. Garrett O'Reilly (Galena/Orange) was outstanding, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits in 6.1 innings of work. He struck out four and allowed just one free pass. Senior Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) moved to 3-2 on the year, shutting down the visitors over the final 2.2 innings, including the last two outs in the seventh when he entered with the bases juiced and just one out.
Bluffton is back at home on Saturday, March 30, when the Beavers welcome Earlham College for the Heartland Conference opener. Game one is slated for 12 p.m. at Memorial Field. Remember to dress for success as cold and rain are once again on the menu!