By Tim Glon
ADA — The Ohio Northern softball team swept an Ohio Athletic Conference double header from Marietta 10-2 and 4-2 on a warm sunny afternoon at the ONU Softball Field.
The Polar Bears improve to 21-11 overall and stay atop the OAC standings with a 14-2 record, while the Pioneers fall to 17-17, 6-10.
With the two victories, ONU has clinched no worse that a No. 3 seed in the OAC Tournament May 3-5. ONU would host the tournament as the top seed with a win in either of its games at Muskingum on April 27.
In Game 1, ONU scored in each inning, including a bases-clearing, walk-off double by senior Hailee Loughman (Brookville) in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game due to the NCAA's 8-run rule.
Led by Loughman's 2-for-3 effort, the top four batters in the Ohio Northern lineup combined to go 8-15 with 6 runs scored and 4 RBI.
Senior Kaitlin Surdej (Lancaster, N.Y./Central) stuck out five and allowed only two earned runs in the complete game victory and is now 13-5 on the season.
In Game 2, ONU led 3-0 after four innings and held off a late charge to win 4-2.
Freshman Maddie Anderson (Akron/Ellet) threw five shutout innings to earn the win and improve to 6-2 and Surdej pitched the final two innings to pick up her fourth save of the season.
Northern got two runs in the bottom of the first on a ground out by junior Gabby Stewart (Union, Ky./St. Henry) and a double by Loughman.
Stewart then hit a sac fly in the bottom of the fourth to score freshman Rachel Hish (Gainesville, Val./Patriot) to make it 3-0.
MC got an unearned run in the top of the sixth to pull within 3-1, but a 2-out single by junior Alicia Swierz (Deerfield/Southeast) plated freshman Hannah Rubel (Swanton/Notre Dame) with an insurance run to make it 4-1.
Hish, Swierz, Stewart and Loughman combined to go 6-for 13 in game two and were 14-for-28 with 8 runs scored and 8 RBI in the two games.
The Polar Bears are scheduled to return to action with a non-conference double header at Case Western Reserve on Tuesday.