By Jay Garneau
DEFIANCE - The Ohio Northern baseball team used a solid all-around effort to defeat Defiance in non-conference action by a 6-2 score at Rutter Field Tuesday afternoon.
Freshman Craig Leopold posted a solid start and junior Erik Stegman and sophomore Jared King each homered to pace the Polar Bears past the Yellow Jackets.
With the win, Ohio Northern improves to 18-8 overall, while Defiance falls to 12-16 with the loss.
Leopold retired the first 13 batters he faced and allowed just two hits and two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out four, as he picked up his first career win to improve to 1-1.
ONU started the scoring early, picking up two runs in the first inning and another in the third.
Senior Matt Rader and sophomore Eric Yunker led off the game with back-to-back singles before Rader scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore Matt Hampshire. Senior Brett Katana doubled to knock in Yunker and give ONU the 2-0 lead.
In the third, Stegman drilled his third home run of the year over the center field wall to push the lead to 3-0.
After the Yellow Jackets picked up two runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Polar Bears answered with three insurance runs in the eighth.
Senior Loren Fleischman singled and scored when King knocked a two-run homer, the first of his career. Rader and Eric Yunker again added back-to-back singles and Rader was able to score on a fielding error as the ONU lead increased to 6-2.
Senior Kevin Sigg closed out the game by tossing 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out three batters to pick up his third save of the season.
Fellow senior Greg Gibbons finished the day 3-for-5, giving him 143 hits in his career, moving him into 16th all-time.
Fleischman's hit gives him 104 in his career, tying him for 39th.
Katana's double gives him 155 career hits, just one away from tying Mike Bierly for tenth all-time.
The Polar Bears have a quick turnaround as they host Otterbein in a key conference doubleheader at Wander Field tomorrow beginning at 1 pm.