By Tim Glon
DAYTON — Senior Jackson Buda (Norton), sophomore Andy Mills (Cincinnati/St. Xavier) and freshman Michael Rocco (Orlando, Fla./Zionsville, Ind.) all had clutch performances late in game one to lead the Ohio Northern baseball team into the postseason with a double header split at Wilmington on Sunday at Dayton Christian High School.
The Polar Bears (21-16 overall, 10-0 Ohio Athletic Conference) won the opener 7-4 in 10 innings to secure a spot in the OAC Tournament May 9-11 at Baldwin Wallace.
The Quakers (8-29, 4-14) won the nightcap 8-3.
Northern needed a split to clinch a spot in the OAC Tournament for the second consecutive season.
ONU will be the No. 3 seed and will face second-seeded Heidelberg in the first game on Thursday at either Noon or 3 pm.
Wilmington appeared on the cusp of winning game one, as the Quakers had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the ninth in a 4-all tie.
But Buda got a strikeout and a ground out to end the threat and send the game into extra innings.
Mills then broke the tie with an RBI single to score sophomore Krue Thwaits (Greenville/Milton-Union) to make it 5-4.
Buda then closed the door on WC in the tenth to secure the victory and guarantee another postseason berth for the Polar Bears.
ONU went to its bench in game two, playing 17 different players, as the squad had locked up the No. 3 seed in the OAC Tournament regardless of the outcome of the nightcap.
Rocco finished the day going 4-for-9 with a run scored and two RBI to lead the Ohio Northern offense.
The Polar Bears will wrap up their regular season on Monday with a 4:30 pm non-conference game against Albion (Mich.) at home at Wander Field.