NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. –A combined 21-hit attack over two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contests wasn't quite enough for Manchester University Wednesday, April 16.
Visiting Bluffton University of Ohio picked up both ends of a key late-season meeting with the Spartans (9-17, 6-8 HCAC) winning 9-6 in game one and 10-4 in game two. MU got its home crowd at Spartan Field to its feet with a two-run seventh inning rally in game one, sending the potential tying run to the plate, and closed a 6-1 game two deficit to 6-4 with three runs in the sixth but couldn't come closer in either occasion.
Junior pitcher Ashlea Nash (Gas City, Ind.), who tried to help her own cause in the opener with two doubles out of three total hits to go with two RBIs, struck out three and surrendered only four walks. However, BU (20-10, 10-4 HCAC) used a five-run fourth to break the contest open.
In the nightcap, the Beavers got to Spartan sophomore starting pitcher MacKenzie Williams (Kendallville, Ind.) early striking for five in the second and one in the third for a 6-0 lead. The Black and Gold whittled the deficit to as little as 6-4 with its three-run sixth, highlighted by a two-run single from sophomore designated player Jessica Chorak (Hammond, Ind.). However, the visitors responded plating four runs, due in large part to three errors, to extend their advantage.
Manchester University steps out of conference play Saturday, April 19. Olivet College of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association visits North Manchester for a 1 p.m. first pitch.