By Caleb Scott
AUBURNDALE, Fla. — The Ohio Northern baseball team fell in a thrilling matchup against RIT (N.Y.) 6-5 before defeating Nichols (Mass.) 5-1 in the RussMatt Invitational in Auburndale, Florida on Saturday afternoon.
The Polar Bears improve to 5-3 on the year, while the Tigers move to 2-0 and the Bison fall to 1-5.
In the first contest of the day, ONU fell in a 4-0 hole after four innings.
The Polar Bears rallied in the top of the ninth inning, using a 3-run inning to take a slim 5-4 lead.
In that inning, freshmen Michael Rocco (Zionsville, Ind.) and Andy Mills (Cincinnati/St. Xavier) scored a pair of unearned runs, before senior Jordan Bostater (Bryan) hit a single to center field to break the 4-4 tie and plate junior Luke Klinehoffer (Zanesville/John Glenn) and give Northern a 5-4 lead.
RIT was able to hit a bases loaded, walk-off single to claim the 6-5 victory.
In the second game of the afternoon, ONU used a big fourth inning to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
In that inning, singles from Klinehoffer, junior Caleb Thomas (Strongsville) and senior Hayden Shenefield (Powell/Worthington Kilbourne) scored three runs in the innings, while Thomas also scored on a wild pitch to put ONU ahead 4-0.
Nichols answered in the top of the fourth with a run, but Thomas went to work again in the bottom of the fourth inning as he drove Klinehoffer home with a single to right field to seal the 5-1 victory.
Sophomore Josh Mohr (Oregon/Clay) improved to 1-0 on the year on the pitchers mound, posting five strikeouts and only allowing three hits through 7.1 innings of work.
The Polar Bears will wrap up their spring break trip tomorrow afternoon with a twinbill against Mt. St. Joseph with game one beginning at 9:15 a.m.