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Bluffton takes two at Franklin

April 12, 2014

FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University softball team traveled to Franklin College and won a pair of slugfests with the Grizzlies on Saturday, April 12, 2014. A five-run 10th in the lidlifter and a six-run third in game two powered the Beavers to a crucial sweep at Franklin. Bluffton improved to 18-10 overall and 8-4 in the Heartland Conference, while Franklin slipped to 15-15 and 3-7 in the HCAC.

Bluffton went up 1-0 in the opener when junior JO BONDRA (Highland Heights/Mayfield) lifted a sacrifice fly to right after a stolen base and singles by BRITTANY BAKER (Springboro) and EMILY KOLEZYNSKI(Strongsville).

Franklin responded with three runs in the home half for a 3-1 lead over the visitors. Baker made it 3-2 in the fourth following an RBI single that sent KATIE MUSGRAVE (Doylestown/Chippewa) scurrying home. Two innings later, Baker launched a two-run dinger that gave Bluffton a 4-2 lead.

Back-to-back two-out Franklin hits in the bottom of the seventh forced the game into extra innings where the international tie-breaker immediately came into play. Both teams took advantage of their runners in scoring position in frames eight and nine before Bluffton exploded with five runs in the top of the 10th.

ARIANA MUFFO (New Athens, Ill.) singled home Musgrave to start the frame. A single by Baker followed by an intentional pass to JESS KUZARA(Flat Rock, Mich.) loaded the sacks for Emily Kolezynski, who picked up Muffo for an 8-6 lead. Bondra came through with a two-run single before ASHLEY KNIPPEN (Wapakoneta) capped the inning with an RBI knock.

Franklin pulled within 11-8 after a two-out single, but junior CHLOE SHELL(Covington) induced a popout to end the game. She went the distance, allowing eight runs, just three earned, on 16 hits with a strikeout. Shell tossed 148 pitches, including 92 for strikes,

Baker was a perfect 5-of-5 with four RBI, three runs scored and a homer. Kolezynski and Bondra both spanked three hits, while Musgrave and Kuzara both scored twice. Bondra drove in four runs for the victors. Bluffton finished with 18 hits in game one.

Muffo led off game two with a double and she crossed the plate for a 1-0 lead when Baker reached on an error. The floodgates opened in the third when Musgrave, CHELSEA WEITZ (Dayton/Carroll) and Muffo all singled to load the bases for Baker. The hot-hitting junior took a called strike on the first pitch but she unloaded on the next offering, making the score 5-0 after her grand slam. Kuzara doubled and Kolezynski singled before back-to-back wild pitches and a Jo Bondra single had the Beavers on the verge of a mercy-rule victory.

The Beaver fans had visions of Mount St. Joseph when Franklin pulled within 7-5 after inning six, but four hits and two errors added up to four Bluffton runs when the dust settled. Shell's two-run single and Baker's two-RBI double helped Bluffton to an 11-5 win in the finale.

Muffo went 4-of-5 with three runs in game two. Baker drove in six on two hits, giving her 10 RBI against the Grizzlies! Kuzara finished with three hits and Weitz went 2-of-2 for the Beavers.

Freshman EMILY SCUPHOLM (Cuyahoga Falls/Our Lady of the Elms) needed just 96 pitches for her complete-game eight-hitter. She allowed five runs, just two earned. Scupholm fanned two and did not issue a free pass on Saturday as she improved to 6-1.

Bluffton stays on the road Tuesday April 15, when the Beavers travel to North Manchester, Ind., for a pair of HCAC contests at Manchester University. The first game is slated for 3:30 p.m.