BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseballl team split a pair of 7-6 decisions with rival Defiance College in the opening HCAC series for both teams on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Bluffton moved to 10-10 and 1-1 in the Heartland Conference, while Defiance stands 10-6-1 with a similar 1-1 mark in the HCAC.
An Elisha Tressler (Bryan) RBI single in the second followed by a Parker Reynolds (Avon) run-scoring base knock in the third were sandwiched around three Defiance tallies as the Yellow Jackets led 3-2 heading to the fourth inning.
Down 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Bluffton came to life with a Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) RBI single before Alex Lemanski (Miamisburg) picked him up with a sacrifice fly to center, knotting the score at 4-4.
Defiance went up 7-4 with two runs in the eighth and a solo homer in the ninth, but the Beavers fought to the end. Gregory doubled home Jeff Strayer (Columbus/Thomas Worthington) and Zane Martin (Ottoville) plated Gregory with his single to left, but the Beavers left the bases loaded as Defiance held on for the 7-6 game one victory.
Jacob Latkofsky (Temperance, MI/Ida) went 3-of-5 with two runs scored. Gregory finished 2-of-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Reynolds, Cale Sherbourne (Johnstown/Big Walnut) and Jaxon Rogan (Marysville) all chipped in with two safeties.
Senior Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) slipped to 3-3 after allowing three runs on three hits in three innings of relief. Sophomore Garrett O'Reilly (Galena/Orange) went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Bluffton took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning in game two when Lemanski doubled home Strayer before Gregory launched his 8th homer of the season, a two-run shot down the left feild line! A Lenny Winiarski (Cincinnati/LaSalle) solo shot to left an inning later made it 4-1 heading to the fifth.
The Yellow Jackets exploded for five runs in the top of the seventh, but the home team answered back with three scores in the home half. Lemanski's two-bagger plated Tressler and Strayer before Gregory singled him home for a 7-6 lead. Martin showed his versatility with two innings of perfect reilef as Bluffton secured a split with the 7-6 victory. He notched his second save of the season in the process, while sophomore Mike Aman (Dublin/Coffman) earned his first victory.
Lemanski, Gregory, Tressler and Winiarski all smacked two hits in the victory. Lemanski and Gregory drove in three runs apiece, while Strayer and Lemanski both scored twice.
Bluffton jumps right back into action on Wednesday, April 3, when the Earlham College Quakers come to town for a second Heartland Conference doubleheader in as many days. Game one is slated for 1 p.m.