By Caleb Scott
ALLIANCE — The Ohio Northern baseball team used strong pitching performances and a balanced offensive attack to sweep Mount Union 15-4, 9-4 on Sunday afternoon at 23rd Street Field in Alliance.
The Polar Bears improve to 16-6 overall and 4-2 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Purple Raiders drop to 13-7, 4-2.
In the first contest, MtU scored an early run in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead before Northern scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 3-1 lead.
The Polar Bears broke the contest open in the top of the seventh inning as they used a 4-run inning to push the lead to 7-1.
After the ONU defense made quick work of Mount Union in the bottom half of the seventh inning, the Polar Bear offense exploded for six runs in the top of the eighth inning as seniors Jason Burkett (Maumee), Jordan Bostater (Bryan) and Brandon Kasberg (Mentor) and junior Caleb Thomas (Strongsville) all earned RBIs with hits in the inning.
The Purple Raiders tallied two runs in the bottom half of the inning, but ONU would answer with two runs of their own to help seal the 15-4 victory.
Junior Austin Frey (Peoria, Az./Sunrise Mountain) stayed perfect on the season, improving to 5-0 on the year after tossing 7.0 innings and striking out six batters in the victory.
In the second contest Mount Union again grabbed an early lead before Thomas hit a solo home run and Shenefield scored on a ground out in the top of the fourth inning to give ONU a 2-1 lead.
After Mount Union added three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to regain to lead, Northern scored five runs in the top of the sixth and seventh innings to reclaim the lead at 7-4.
ONU added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning as Thomas and Shenefield each recorded doubles to plate Kasberg and senior Dan Barna (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) and seal the 9-4 game two victory.
Northern will return to action on Tuesday afternoon as it welcomes No. 18-ranked Baldwin Wallace to Wander Field for a double header with game one beginning at 1 p.m.