Berg & Bluffton battle for a softball split

(Brennan Izzo/Berg Athletics)
(Brennan Izzo/Berg Athletics)

TIFFIN -- A six-run outburst in the first inning of the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader helped the Heidelberg University softball team earn a split with Bluffton University. The Beavers took the opener, 5-1, and the Student Princes won the nightcap, 9-2. Bailey Smith and Renee Lovett led The Berg with three hits apiece.

Heidelberg moved to 8-6 with the split, while Bluffton moved to 8-4.

GAME ONE: Bluffton 5 Heidelberg 1

Heidelberg struck first with a run in the bottom of the third. Bailey Smith slashed a double just inside the left field line and moved to third on a groundout by Taylor Hicks. Renee Lovett followed with a slow bouncing single through the 5-6 hole, plating Smith.

Bluffton had runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the fourth before Erin Chapman got Kelsi Wilson swinging to end the threat. The strikeout came in a string of three straight innings punctuated by a Chapman K.

In the top of the sixth, Bluffton took the lead with three runs. Brittany Huff singled to left and scored on a double to right by Josie McElroy. McElroy, who advanced to third on the throw home, scored on a single to center by Caylin Morstadt. Morstadt would later score on a fielder's choice.

The Beavers added two in the seventh off of Chapman (4-2), who was relieved by Morgan Daniels. Daniels retired three straight, one on a terrific sliding grab by Smith on a sinking liner near the left field line.

Bluffton starter Emily Scupholm (5-1) allowed just three hits in the complete game win -- needing only 76 pitches. She retired the Student Princes in order in four of the seven innings.

GAME TWO: Heidelberg 9 Bluffton 2

The Student Princes stormed out of the gate in the nightcap, scoring six unearned runs on six hits -- with all runs scoring with two outs. Caitlyn Moore started the scoring with a single to center, plating Chapman. Abbey McKee hit a double to right field to bring in two more. Randi Kelsey followed with an RBI bouncer through the left side. After a pitching change, Kaitlyn Keys had an infield single in her return to the HU lineup. The final two runs of the inning scored when Taylor Hicks reached on an error.

After cruising through the first three innings, Bluffton touched up Caitlyn Moore for a run on back-to-back doubles to start the fourth. The Beavers would load the bases, but Moore got out of the jam with a strikeout and a weak fly ball to center.

Moore got the run back in the bottom of the inning, singling home Hicks with two outs.

Bluffton got a quirky run in the top of the fifth. With bases loaded and one out, Morstadt hit a pop-up on the infield that was dropped by Rebecca Radabaugh. Though Morstadt was out on an infield fly, the ball bounced far enough away for the runner to score from third.

In the bottom of the fifth, Smith led off with a bouncer through the box. She scored on a double to the base of the wall in left by Kelsey, who advanced to third on the throw home. Kelsey scored on an infield single by Lovett, capping the scoring.

Moore (3-3) worked a complete game six-hitter, fanning four.

EXTRA BASES

Three of the game one's first six batters were called out by the home plate umpire for making contact with the ball out of the batter's box. It was called twice in the second game.

Four Student Princes each had two RBI on Tuesday -- Lovett, Kelsey, Kaitlyn Moore and McKee.

Bluffton's McElroy had four doubles on the afternoon.

UP NEXT

HU will host Hiram College (4-8) on Thursday for another non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Schedule changes can be followed all season long at BergAthletics.com.