By Blake Moore
SPRINGFIELD — The Ohio Northern softball program bounced back from a 9-8 game one loss with a 9-8 victory in the nightcap to earn a nonconference split with in-state foe Wittenberg Monday afternoon at Betty Doughman Dillahunt Field in Springfield.
With the split, Ohio Northern moves to 18-10 overall this season. Meanwhile, the Tigers jump to 6-22 overall.
Freshman infielder Kara May (Saint Marys/Spencerville) paced the Ohio Northern offense with five hits in nine trips to the plate Monday, which included a three-for-four performance in game two. The Saint Marys native added two RBI, two doubles, and two runs scored to a strong offensive attack.
Classmate Abby Elliott (Loveland/Ursuline) ended second on the team with four hits in seven official at-bats. The freshman also scored a run, contributed two RBI, and stole a base.
Reigning Ohio Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week Hailee Loughman (Brookville) and freshman Hannah Rubel (Swanton/Notre Dame) each added a team-high three RBI to the ledger. The former also tied for the team lead with three runs and added a double and a triple on Monday.
In game one, Wittenberg rolled out to an early 5-1 lead after three innings following two scores in the second and three more in the third frame.
However, the ONU offense came to life with a four-run fourth inning to even the scoreline at 5-5. Loughman laced a two-RBI double into center field to kick off the rally before touching home on an RBI single from Elliott to end the scoring spree.
After Wittenberg posted two runs in the home half of the fourth, the Polar Bears picked up a run in the fifth and the sixth to level the score once again at 7-7.
The Tigers immediately responded with two more in the sixth to go up 9-7. ONU attempted a late rally, but Northern could only score once in the seventh before the side was retired.
In game two, Ohio Northern tallied the victory due in large part to a four-run fourth inning. Trailing 5-3, Rubel slapped a single into center field to bring home two runs and tie the game at five-all. Junior Alicia Swierz (Deerfield/Swanton) added the inning's third run with an RBI single, and she came home to score on an error moments later for a two-run lead.
Ohio Northern added two more runs in the fifth frame when May and Rubel came through with clutch RBI hits to put the Polar Bears up 9-6.
ONU will return to action tomorrow afternoon when the team travels to Otterbein for an OAC doubleheader. Game one is set for 3 p.m. at the Otterbein Softball Field.