By Tim Glon
BEREA — Ohio Northern was eliminated from the 2019 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament on Friday with a 7-1 loss to Otterbein in Game 3 and a 10-0 loss to Heidelberg in Game 5 at Baldwin Wallace's Fisher Field.
The third-seeded Polar Bears end their season with a 23-18 overall record and finish 1-2 in OAC Tournament play.
The fourth-seeded Cardinals (25-16-1) and the second-seeded Student Princes (30-12) advance to the championship Game 6 on Saturday at Noon.
Top-seeded Baldwin Wallace was eliminated by Heidelberg in Game 4 on Friday afternoon.
In Game 3 against Otterbein on Friday morning, junior Jack Schaller (Bowling Green) went eight innings on the mound, allowing four runs and six hits and three hits while striking out two. He is now 5-3 on the season.
Northern got its run in the bottom of the ninth when sophomore Matthew Burkett (Maumee) doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Corey McMann (Flower Mound, Tex./Liberty Christian).
OU scored all seven of its runs with two out and Ohio Northern was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and that was a big difference in the game.
"It's difficult to win games when you don't score runs," ONU head coach Gene Stechschulte said. "We had base hits, but we couldn't string them together. Jack (Schaller) threw well for the most part, but he made a few mistakes that were costly. Defensively, Luke (Klinehoffer) made some nice plays. But the bottom line is we need to score more runs to be successful."
Otterbein took the lead in the top of the first, scoring twice with the benefit of only two base hits, as a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases and a 2-out, 2-run single made it 2-0.
Schaller then settled down and did not allow a hit until the top of the fifth, retiring 12 of the next 13 batters when a 2-out rally again plated a pair of runs for a 4-0 OU lead. The Cardinals came up with a double, single, walk and a single in consecutive at-bats to increase their lead.
Four consecutive two-out hits and a fielding error accounted for three more Otterbein runs in the top of the ninth against the Polar Bear bullpen to make it 7-0.
Northern finished the game with six base hits, led by a 2-for-3 effort by sophomore Will Davis (Upper Arlington/Bishop Watterson).
Against Heidelberg Friday late afternoon, ONU left seven runners in scoring position in the first three innings and fell behind 7-0.
The Polar Bears finished with eight hits but were again unable to drive in runs after batters reached base.
Senior Luke Klinehoffer (Zanesville/John Glenn) had three base hits on the day and finished his career with 193 base hits, leaving him just four shy of ONU's career record of 197 set by Scott Bush from 1998-2001.