April 5, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball squad hit the road up north to face off against rival Defiance College in their second set of conference games this season. After a thrilling 4-3 extra-inning win in the first game, a 6-2 loss in game two put the Beavers at 6-15 overall and 1-3 in HCAC play.
The Yellow Jackets struck first on their home turf after an RBI double put them up 1-0 in the bottom of the second. Bluffton would answer in the top of the third when MERCEDES BURNS (Ashtabula/Edgewood) crushed a shot to left center for her first career home run to even the score up at 1-1!
The visitors added to their score in the top of the fourth when CASEY CLARK (Lima/Central Catholic) recorded an RBI with her bases-loaded walk that pushed home BRITTANY HUFF (Clayton/Northmont) from third. A Defiance run tied the game up at 2-2 heading to the seventh.
Extra innings were required and with the international tie-breaker in place, a Brittany Huff single to center scored KELSEY REEDER (Galion) to put Bluffton up 3-2. The Beavers weren't done and they scored again thanks to a COURTNEY JASINSKI (Englewood/Northmont) single that plated Brittany Huff for a 4-2 advantage. Despite a leadoff RBI double by the Yellow Jackets that cut the deficit to 4-3, the Bluffton defense did its thing as the visitors capped off their first conference victory of the season.
Going 3-of-4 from the plate, Brittany Huff would lead the way for the Beavers, notching two doubles and accounting for a pair of runs. CAYLIN MORSTADT(Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes) drew a pair of walks while Mercedes Burns and Courtney Jasinski rounded out the offense for Bluffton.
Bringing the heat on the mound was NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) who fired all 8.0 innings, allowing only two earned runs off seven hits. Netting a total of 107 pitches, the senior hurler struck out a pair of batters while also walking two.
Defiance took center stage in game two, putting up two runs in the second and four unearned tallies in the fourth frame for a 6-0 lead. The Beavers answered back in the fifth when JOSIE MCELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) laced a two-run single, pulling her within one safety of all-time leader Chelsie Osborne's 173 career hits! A MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) walk was the only base runner Bluffton could muster over the final two innings as Defiance secured the 6-2 victory and series split.
Schmidt's theft of second in the third inning marked stolen base number 20 on the year, tying her for the most steals in a season! JESSIE MADZIA(Massillon/Tuslaw) fell to 1-7 after allowing six runs, just one earned, on four hits in six innings of work. She struck out one and walked three Jackets.
Bluffton's games with Hanover scheduled for Saturday have been postponed due to frigid temperatures so the next series on the slate is Wednesday, April 11, when the Beavers welcome Anderson University for a 3:30 p.m. start.