By Caleb Scott
WESTERVILLE -- The Ohio Northern baseball team dropped a hard-fought 2-0 decision to No. 25-ranked Marietta and bowed out of the 2018 Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon at Fishbaugh Field.
The Polar Bears fall to 27-15 overall, while the Pioneers improve to 27-15.
Junior Luke Klinehoffer (Zanesville/John Glenn) led the Polar Bear attack, going 2-for-4 at the plate.
On the pitchers mound, junior Austin Frey (Peoria, Az./Sunrise Mountain) went five innings, before sophomore Jack Schaller (Bowling Green) took over to close out the final three innings of the contest.
After a scoreless first inning, Marietta scored the first run of the game in the bottom half of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead.
The Ohio Northern defense continued its impressive play in the tournament, holding Marietta to just one run for the remainder of the contest.
The Polar Bears couldn't find the offense to rally as Marietta went on to close out the contest and advance to take on No. 1-seeded Otterbein in another elimination contest.
"Today was a pretty fast game," said head coach Gene Stechschulte. "Both defenses played well today but I think a couple of miscues on our part gave them the chance they needed to score. I think we hit the ball well, but it seemed like everything we hit was right to them. Getting to this point is a big step for this program. We unfortunately were on the short end of a tiebreaker for the OAC tournament a few years ago but we earned our shot this year. Getting here is always the goal and its something that we need to experience more to be able to perform in this kind of atmosphere. This season was definitely a step in the right direction."
"Working together with these guys has been a lot of fun," said senior catcher Kyle Schlade (Hamilton/Talawanda). "Unfortunately, things didn't go how we would have liked but getting here was important. This is the ultimate goal and something we want every year. I think this team has a lot of talent and upside moving forward. I'm glad we were able to get this team back into the tournament and hopefully set a new standard for ONU baseball."