Baseball overcomes rain delay, upends Albion (Mich.) 7-5 in RussMatt Invitational

Baseball overcomes rain delay, upends Albion (Mich.) 7-5 in RussMatt Invitational

By Blake Moore

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — Mother Nature may have delayed the Ohio Northern baseball program's contest against Albion (Mich.) for several hours, but not even she could prevent the Polar Bears from posting a 7-5 victory over the Britons at the Lake Myrtle Main complex in Auburndale, Fla. on Tuesday.

With the victory, ONU levels its 2019 record at 2-2 overall. Meanwhile, the Britons fall to 2-3 overall following the nonconference loss.

After beginning at the regularly-scheduled 9 a.m. start time, the game was delayed until 5 p.m. with only three innings played. The game resumed shortly after the top of the hour and concluded late Tuesday evening.

Prior to the delay, Ohio Northern found themselves up early when junior Phil Buckingham (Wayne/Elmwood) crossed the plate following a wild pitch in the home half of the second inning.

In the third inning, ONU plated three runs and extended the lead to 4-0 over the visiting side. Sophomore Will Davis (Upper Arlington/Bishop Watterson) raced home on an error to plate the first run while senior Luke Klinehoffer (Zanesville/John Glenn) and sophomore Tyler Randick (Flushing, Mich.) each supplied an RBI single in the frame.

Northern continued to build its lead with two more runs in the fourth. Buckingham brought home sophomore Matthew Burkett (Maumee) on an RBI ground out, and outfielder Krue Thwaits (Greenville/Milton Union) slapped an RBI single into right field.

The Britons responded with a two-run home run in the top of the seventh and an RBI single in the eighth to make the deficit just 6-3.

However, Thwaits came through with a bases-loaded knock in the eighth to put the Polar Bears up four, allowing the ONU relievers to close out the affair.

Thwaits led Ohio Northern with a perfect four-for-four outing at the dish, which included two RBI and a run scored. Klinehoffer, Buckingham, and sophomore Michael Rocco (Orlando, Fla./Zionsville, Ind.) joined the sophomore outfielder with multi-hit outings, each recording two hits in Tuesday's contest.

On the mound, Klinehoffer was awarded the victory after coming on in relief after the rain delay. He tossed three innings, struck out two batters, and walked just one to earn his first pitching victory this season.

Prior to Klinehoffer's appearance, junior Tommy Fleser (Sunbury/Big Walnut) rolled through the first three innings with six strikeouts, keeping the Britons hitless prior to the delay.

Meanwhile, junior right-hander Devin Johnson (Wooster) slammed the door shut on the Britons' comeback and pitched one scoreless inning to earn the save.

As a team, the Polar Bears out-hit Albion 15-4 in Tuesday's contest, which included three extra-base hits.

Ohio Northern will return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for a 1:15 p.m. date with Bridgewater (Va.) at the Osceola Heritage Park #2 in Kissimmee, Fla.