ONU holds off late Defiance rally, picks up 6-5 victory
DEFIANCE — Junior Brian Hill pitched eight strong innings as the Ohio Northern men's baseball team was able to withstand a late Defiance push to win 6-5 at Craig Rutter Field.
The Polar Bears improved to 17-20, while the Yellow Jackets dropped to 5-25.
Hill didn't give up an earned run until the ninth inning and walked only one batter, while tallying five strikeouts.
Offensively, ONU jumped out to a 5-0 lead as batters belted out six extra-base hits. Sophomore Brandon Aselage and freshman Chris Sobieray each had two hits.
Northern put two runs on the board with two outs in the third inning. Sophomore Greg Gibbons tripled to right field and scored when Aselage hit a single.
Aselage stole second and made the score 2-0 when sophomore Drew Robinson doubled him home.
Northern extended its lead to 4-0 in the fourth.
Freshman Eric Stegman led off with a double and Sobieray followed with a single.
Freshman Regan Teague then hit a RBI single to score Stegman.
Sobieray was caught stealing a batter later, but sophomore Brandon Hubbard drilled a one-run triple that scored Teague.
In the fifth, sophomore Loren Fleishman smacked a pinch-hit RBI double to put the Polar Bears ahead 5-0.
Defiance bounced back with a pair of runs in the seventh.
After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Northern made three errors which allowed two unearned runs to cross the plate.
ONU added to its lead in the ninth when Aselage hit double and scored on a single by sophomore Jeff Pope.
Leading 6-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, ONU appeared to have the game won.
The Yellow Jackets made things interesting with a three-run outburst, though.
Hill, trying to pitch the complete nine inning game, gave up three consecutive singles to start the inning.
With runners on the corners and one out, Braden Brugler grounded out allowing Brad Timofeev to score.
Defiance made the score 6-4, when Matt Kaighin scored after a wild pitch. T
he next batter, Trey Harris, hit a one-run single and ONU was suddenly clinging to a 6-5 lead with two outs in the ninth.
Senior Nick Simoff stopped the suspense, though, by getting Tim Pitro to fly out with two runners on base to secure the 6-5 Northern victory. For Simoff, it was his third save of the season.
Hill improved to 3-5 for the Polar Bears, while Pat McKee dropped to 0-2 for the Yellow Jackets.
Ohio Northern returns to action Thursday at 4 p.m. at Wooster.