Softball Drops Tough 4-3 Decision to Bluffton in Game 1

 GAME 1 BOX / GAME 2 BOX

225Ahlborn Bluffton

BLUFFTON, Ohio. – The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology softball team saw its perfect league record snapped in two tough losses in Saturday’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader at Bluffton University.

The Fightin’ Engineers (5-5, 2-2 HCAC) dropped a heartbreaker in Game 1, 4-3, before sustaining an 11-3 loss in five innings in Game 2.

In Game 1, Bluffton’s (13-7, 3-1) Brittany Baker erased a Rose-Hulman 3-2 lead and gave the Beavers a walkoff win with her two-out, two RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Rose-Hulman manufactured a 3-1 lead heading into the fifth inning, as a Carly Heibel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lakewood Park Christian) double scored Jessica Ahlborn (Houghton, Mich./Houghton) to tie the game at 1-all in the top of the third inning.

RHIT junior Lindsey Watterson (Lexington, Ind./Southwestern) kicked off a strong fourth inning with a single, then later scored on an Ahlborn single up the middle, which also plated sophomore Whitney Strain (St. Charles, Mo./Orchard Farm).

Bluffton had an answer in the fifth when Chelsea Weitz doubled and later scored on a Ariana Muffo sacrifice fly to trim RHIT’s lead to one, 3-2.

After the Engineers failed to score with two runners on base in the top of the seventh, Weitz (reached on an error) and Katie Musgrave (single) reached base, setting up Baker’s two-out, game-winning double down the right-field line.

RHIT sophomore Marissa Stout (Terre Haute, Ind./South) led RHIT with two hits, including a double, and Ahlborn finished with two hits and two RBI. Heibel added a double and a RBI and Janel Lake (Okawville, Ill./Okawville), Watterson, and Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Troy Buchanan) had singles.

Heibel (3-1) took the loss in the circle for RHIT, allowing two earned runs while striking out two.

In Game 2, Rose-Hulman gained a quick lead when Ahlborn, in the leadoff spot, drilled her second home run of the season with a solo shot to left field in the top of the first inning.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Beavers exploded for five runs in the bottom of the inning. Muffo responded with a leadoff home run of her own, followed by hits from Baker, Jess Kuzara, Jo Bondra and Shelby Erford.

Rose-Hulman would add another run in the second, when junior Chris Rollins (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield North) singled and later scored on a wild pitch. After Bluffton added three runs in both the third and fourth innings, RHIT added one more run in the top of the fifth.

Senior Allison Bowman (Fort Wayne, Ind./R Nelson Snider) and Lake singled in the inning, which led to Strain’s RBI groundout to score pinch runner Cassidy Bevington (Delphos, Ohio/Delphos Jefferson).

RHIT finished with 10 hits in Game 2, led by three from sophomore Jett Bender (Monticello, Minn./Monticello) and two each from Heibel and Bowman.

Rose-Hulman returns to the field when the Engineers host Greenville College in a doubleheader at the RHIT Softball Complex Wednesday, April 2. Game 1 is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m.