By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team handed conference foe Mount St. Joseph a two-game sweep in a conference doubleheader on Saturday, April 13, 2019. The Beavers improved to 15-13 overall and 5-3 in the Heartland Conference, while MSJ fell to 9-14 overall and 2-4 in the HCAC.
The Beavers had an offensive explosion in the bottom of the second, putting up eight runs on the Lions. It all started when an Alex Lemanski (Miamisburg) RBI single got Bluffton on the board. A balk and a wild pitch later, sophomore Jacob Latkofsky (Temperance, MI/Ida) doubled in two more for a 5-0 lead. A Lenny Winiarski (Cincinnati/LaSalle) triple plated two Beavers and he came around to score, making it 8-0 after two innings of play.
The Lions would score two in the third and four runs in the fourth, making it 8-6 going into the bottom of the fifth. The Beavers were looking to tack on more and they did just that. Doubles by Colin Gregory (Fremont/Clyde) and Parker Reynolds (Avon) made it 11-4 before a two-run Adam Duncan (Northwood/Lake) single and another Lemanski RBI pushed it to 14-6 after five.
The Beavers would explode for seven more runs in the bottom of the eighth, putting the game out of reach as Bluffton came away with the 21-9 victory in game one.
Winiarski finished 3-for-4 with four RBI. Zane Martin (Ottoville) and Reynolds both went 3-of-5 at the plate with one RBI apiece. Jack Bondy (Avon) earned his first win of the season, allowing just one run on five hits in 2.2 innings of relief.
Game two's final was much closer than game one but there most certainly wasn't a shortage of runs.
With Bluffton in a 4-0 hole after the top half of the first, they were looking to cut into the lead. They chipped away with one in the bottom of the first and two in the second making it 6-3 in favor of the visitors. The home team made hay in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an error, a couple walks and two sacrifice flies that put the Beavers ahead 8-7 after six. Jaxon Rogan (Marysville) doubled home pinch runner Elisha Tressler (Bryan) in the eighth, a crucial run as MSJ scored in the ninth. Bluffton did what it needed to do, however, as the Beavers wrapped up their first HCAC sweep of the season with a 9-8 victory!
Martin and Lamanski both went 2-of-4 in game two. Rogan, Reynolds and Latkofsky each drove in two runs for the victors. Latkofsky, Martin and Lemanski each crossed the dish twice. Senior Dante D'Andrea (Westerville/North) battled through the final four innings, moving to 5-3 after allowing just one run on four hits with four punchouts.
Bluffton will be back in action on Tuesday, April 16, when they travel to Anderson University for a mid-week HCAC doubleheader. The first pitch of game one is slated for 1 p.m.