By Blake Moore
CLEVELAND - The Ohio Northern softball program wrapped up its 2019 regular season slate Tuesday with 6-3 and 11-3 losses to nonconference foe Case Western Reserve at Mather Park in Cleveland.
The Polar Bears fall to 21-17 overall on the season with the losses. Meanwhile, the Spartans improve to 25-13 overall.
Senior infielder Hailee Loughman (Brookville) led the ONU offense with a four-for-five performance at the plate. In addition, she added an RBI and a walk over the two-game stretch.
Meanwhile, junior Gabby Stewart (Union, Ky./St. Henry) and freshman Hannah Rubel (Swanton/Notre Dame) generated three hits in six official at-bats each. The former also chipped in a team-high two RBI while the latter scored twice.
With their performances Tuesday, Stewart and Loughman move into 14th and a tie for 16th on Ohio Northern's all-time hits list with 143 and 138 hits, respectively.
In game one, both sides remained scoreless until the fourth inning. The Spartans kicked off the scoring in the home half when Hope Yashnik brought home a run on an error.
Ohio Northern responded with three runs in the fifth to take a 3-1 advantage. The Polar Bears picked up two runs on a CWR miscue in right field before Stewart added the third run on an RBI single through the left side.
From there, the Spartans rattled off four runs in the fifth and added one more in the sixth to win the opener 6-3.
During the nightcap, Northern jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first frame on a Spartan error at third base. However, Case Western Reserve posted three runs in the third to regain control of the second contest 3-1.
The Polar Bears leveled the scoreline at 3-3 in the fourth stanza. Stewart slapped her second RBI single on the day into left field, and Loughman singled through the right side in the following at-bat to bring home pinch-runner Marissa Cilluffo (Macomb, Mich./Eisenhower).
CWR answered the scores with three runs in the fourth and five more in the fifth. The game was called in the fifth inning due to the NCAA's eight-run rule.
Ohio Northern will now turn its attention to the OAC Tournament this weekend at Muskingum. Second-seeded ONU will begin its tournament title defense with a 10 a.m. contest against third-seeded Baldwin Wallace at Donna J. Newberry Field in New Concord.