By Blake Moore
ANDERSON, Ind. — The Ohio Northern softball program fell 2-0 and 1-0 in two tightly-contested, nonconference contests against Anderson (Ind.) at the Raven Softball Field Wednesday afternoon, kicking off a six-game road stretch for the Polar Bears.
With the losses, ONU falls to 21-13 overall this season. The Ravens improve to 15-13 overall following the home sweep.
Junior infielder Jordan Cloonan (Kirtland/Cornerstone Christian) and freshman outfielder Rachel Hish (Gainesville, Va./Patriot) paced the Polar Bear offense with two hits each in the midweek doubleheader. Overall, ONU out-hit the Ravens 9-8 over the two-game span.
In the circle, senior pitcher Kaitlin Surdej (Lancaster, N.Y./Central) and freshman hurler Maddie Anderson (Akron/Ellet) each had solid pitching performances despite the final scorelines. The former surrendered just five hits and gave up two earned runs in the opener while striking out six batters. Meanwhile, the latter only gave up three hits and an unearned run with three strikeouts in the nightcap.
In the opener, Anderson scored its only two runs in the contest with two outs in the fourth inning. Following a Sierra Cunningham triple and a walk, outfielder Hadley Decker and catcher Kerrigan McClain laced back-to-back singles into the outfield to put AU up 2-0.
Northern managed to put runners on first and second in the seventh inning, but the late-inning rally was halted with a lineout and a groundout to end the game.
In the nightcap, Anderson mustered just one run in the sixth inning to secure the series sweep. After an ONU miscue to open the frame, Cunningham scored the decisive run on a fielder's choice off the bat of pinch-hitter D.J. Martz.
Both offenses were quiet in the nightcap as the two sides were held to just three hits each.
Ohio Northern returns to action this Saturday for a league doubleheader at Muskingum with the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title and the top seed in the OAC Tournament on the line. Game one is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch in New Concord.