DEFIANCE, Ohio – Bluffton sent a pair of three-run home runs over the right field fence at Craig A. Rutter Field on Tuesday afternoon and used a six-run sixth inning rally to secure a 10-2 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory over Defiance.
The visiting Beavers struck for a run in the top of the first inning but did not threaten again until the sixth inning. DC's starting pitcher, Ryan McLaughlin, cruised into the frame, having allowed only three singles since the first inning but could not escape a two-out jam in the sixth.
Bluffton got an RBI double to push the lead to 2-0, before McLaughlin picked up the second out of the frame. The third out proved elusive however, as the next two Beaver batters singled, before Kyle Niermann cleared the fences for the 6-0 spread. The margin would swell to 7-0 before the rally was ended.
Defiance had plenty of opportunities throughout the game to narrow the gap, but stranded seven runners on the bases over the first six innings. Bryan Lehman finally put the Jackets on the board with a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Levi Pauli came around to score DC's first run of the game to trim the deficit to 7-1.
DC would get no closer however, as another three-run shot from Bluffton made it 10-1 in the top of the eighth inning.
The Jackets strung together singles from Darin Waterman and Patrick Masopust in the ninth, before Waterman scored on a grounder off the bat of Brad Kremer to plate the final run of the afternoon.
Defiance had nine hits and worked six walks but stranded 14 runners on the bases in the loss. All nine hits came from the top four spots in the lineup, with Chris Donese and Bryan Lehman picking up two each and Waterman notching three more hits, including one double. Andy Habecker and Masopust also singled.
DC (7-13) will take a break from HCAC action on Wednesday, when it heads to Bowling Green (10-17) for a 3:00 pm start.