By: Jay Garneau
WESTERVILLE – The Ohio Northern baseball team scored five runs in the last two innings to defeat Otterbein 9-6 in the second game of an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader at Fishbaugh Field on Friday afternoon.
Otterbein won the first game 5-1, and moves to 16-10 overall and 3-3 overall, while the Polar Bears are now 8-13 overall and 2-3 in the OAC.
Senior Matt Holstein went a perfect 4-for-4 with a double, home run and a pair of RBIs in the nightcap to lead the Polar Bears.
The second game was a back-and-forth battle that featured several ties and lead changes.
ONU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, as freshman Dan Belliveau walked, senior Eric Yunker singled, and senior Matt Hampshire and Matt Holstein each had RBI singles to plate Belliveau and Yunker.
Otterbein scored runs in the second and third to tie the game at 2-2.
A Holstein solo homer in the top of the fourth gave ONU a 3-2 lead, but Otterbein scored another run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 3-3.
Freshman Derek Lenardos singled to lead off the fifth and scored on an RBI double from Belliveau, helping ONU retake a 4-3 lead.
Once again, Otterbein erased the deficit, when Billy Harkenrider led off the bottom of the frame with a solo blast, making the score 4-4.
The Cardinals took their first lead of the game on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, giving them a 5-4 advantage.
ONU answered back in the eighth with three runs, led off by a Tom Walton walk and a Holstein double.
Sophomore Danny Rodriguez hit an RBI single to score Walton, and an error allowed pinch runner Chad Coward to score as well.
After a single from Kevin Blessinger, Belliveau hit his second RBI double of the game to give Northern a 7-5 lead.
Otterbein cut the lead to one with another sacrifice fly in the eighth, but the Polar Bears plated a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth.
Junior Devin Kisor doubled down the left field line to score Rodriguez and Walton, as ONU pushed its lead to 9-6.
Junior Bryce Sedio picked up his second win of the year (2-2), while senior Ryan Damman earned his first save of the year.
In the opener, Otterbein limited the Polar Bears to one unearned run on just three hits, led by starting pitcher Dustin Reuter, who improved to 6-2 with the complete game outing.
The Cardinals scored in the first inning when Harkenrider singled and eventually scored after a pair of wild pitches.
Ohio Northern evened the score the next half inning, as Hampshire singled, advanced to third on a passed ball and groundout before scoring on a balk, tying the game at 1-1.
Otterbein immediately responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead, before doubles by Caleb Woodson and Harkenrider in the fourth plated two more Cardinal runs, giving them a 5-1 lead that held up the remainder of the game.
Junior Austin Price took the loss in a complete game effort, allowing five earned runs over 6.0 innings, striking out nine batters.
The Polar Bears will travel to Denison on Tuesday for a non-conference game at 7 p.m. before hosting Heidelberg in an OAC doubleheader on Wednesday at 1 p.m.