By: Jay Garneau
ADA — A trio of relievers each struck out three batters each and allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings to help the Ohio Northern baseball team defeat Defiance 6-4 despite rainy conditions at Wander Field on Wednesday evening.
A one-hour, 45 minute rain delay pushed the start time back from 4 p.m. to 5:45, and the game was also called after six innings due to darkness.
Ohio Northern has now won five of its last six games and improves to 13-19 overall, while the Yellow Jackets fall to 11-21.
Sophomores Andrew Tople and Chris Leiby combined with senior Justin Good for 5.1 shutout innings of relief.
Tople allowed one hit and no walks over 2.1 innings to stop Defiance's rally, while Leiby struck out the side in the fourth inning and picked up the win to improve to 1-2.
Good then didn't allow a hit in the last 2.0 innings to pick up his second save of the season.
ONU starter Ryan Damman struggled with his command and didn't make it out of the first inning, but received a no decision. Defiance starter Ryan McLaughlin allowed six runs (five earned) on ten hits over 3.2 innings to fall to 2-4.
The Polar Bear offense was also strong, pounding out 12 hits in just five innings at the plate.
After a two-run single from Brent Kremer capped off a four-run first inning for Defiance, ONU answered back with three runs in the third.
Sophomore Tyler Deitering singled and scored when freshman Dan Belliveau drilled his fourth triple of the year off the base of the wall in straightaway center, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
An RBI groundout from senior Eric Yunker scored Belliveau and cleared the bases, but senior Matt Hampshire started the rally back up when he doubled off the top of the left field wall. He scored two pitches later on a Cory Martin RBI single.
Junior Devin Kisor and sophomore Brian Thomas led off the fourth with back-to-back singles, advancing into scoring position on a sac bunt.
Belliveau then hit an RBI groundout, and Yunker singled up the middle for his second RBI of the day, giving ONU a 5-3 lead.
After Yunker stole second, Hampshire reached on an error that got into left field and plated Yunker.
Good then came in for two innings to close out the 6-4 ONU win.
"We still have some things to work on, but we're definitely capitalizing on our opponents' mistakes much more than we did earlier in the season," head coach Gene Stechschulte said.
The Polar Bears will look to continue their momentum Thursday, when they travel to Wittenberg for a non-conference game, slated to begin at 6 p.m.