Matt Hampshire homers twice as Baseball sweeps area-rival Bluffton 10-9, 13-2

By Jay Garneau

BLUFFTON  -- Sophomore Matt Hampshire homered in each game to lead the Ohio Northern baseball team to a doubleheader sweep over area-rival Bluffton at Memorial Field Friday afternoon.

Ohio Northern pulled out a 10-9 victory in the first game by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh. In Game 2, the Polar Bears hammered out 18 hits and got a 2-hit complete-game pitching performance from sophomore Justin Good to win 13-2.

The Polar Bears extend their winning streak to five games and improve to 9-1 on the season, while the Beavers fall to 4-7 overall.

Hampshire finished the day 5-for-7 with two home runs and three RBIs.

With the wind blowing out in the opener, both offenses came out to a hot start.

Northern began the scoring in the top of the first. After senior Greg Gibbons reached on a fielder's choice, Hampshire drilled his first home run of the season over the right field fence to give ONU a 2-0 lead.

After Bluffton scratched out one run in the bottom of the inning, the Polar Bears scored two more in the second.

A single by sophomore Eric Yunker was followed by senior Matt Rader's first career home run, extending the lead to 4-1.

Bluffton homered twice, scoring five runs, in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-4 lead.

The Polar Bears retook the lead in the top of the third with three more runs of their own.

Senior Aaron Lee led off the inning with a double and later scored on an RBI groundout by junior Erik Stegman.

After a single by senior Brett Katana, senior Loren Fleischman reached on an error to plate Katana. Junior Mike Hoelzel then doubled down the left field line to drive in Fleischman and take a 7-6 lead.

Northern scored next in the fifth inning. Hampshire led off the inning with a single and was able to score on a Bluffton error to push the lead to 8-6.

Bluffton cut the lead to one in the bottom of the frame, and was able to take a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Nick Broyles hit his second blast of the game.

In the top of the seventh, Hampshire again led off with a single. After Stegman reached on an error, sophomore Chad Coward pinch-ran for Hampshire and scored on another Bluffton error to tie the game.

Fleischman was hit by a pitch, and Hoelzel was able to drive in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

The Beavers were able to load up the bases with only one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Katana struck out the last two batters of the game to pick up his third save of the season.

Senior Kevin Sigg picked up the win to move to 1-0, striking out two batters in 1.1 innings.

In Game 2, ONU used an outstanding start by Good and homers by Hampshire, Katana, and sophomore Mark Hayes to control the game for the duration.

Bluffton got on the board first by plating one runner in the top of the first.

The Polar Bears quickly responded by scoring six straight runs over three innings, including three in the top of the second.

Hoelzel was hit by a pitch and scored when Eric Yunker tripled to right-center. Eric Yunker scored when junior Adam Yunker reached base on an RBI fielder's choice, advancing to second on an error. After Yunker stole third, Gibbons knocked an RBI single to give ONU a 3-1 lead.

Katana led off the top of the third with a long shot to right center, pushing the margin to three runs.
Hampshire added his second homer of the day the next inning to push it to a 5-1 game. A Katana triple was followed with an RBI single by Fleischman to make it 6-1.

Bluffton picked up their only two hits of the game in the bottom of the fourth, scoring one run to cut the deficit to four runs.

After Rader walked, freshman Devin Kisor picked up his first career hit on a bunt single, as Rader was able to score on a throwing error. Gibbons then tripled to right-center to knock in Kisor and increase the lead to 8-2. Gibbons scored on an error, and Fleischman drove in the fourth run of the inning on an RBI single to make the score 10-2.

In the top of the sixth, Eric Yunker and Rader started off the inning with back-to-back singles.

After a double play, Yunker scored on Gibbons' second triple of the day. Freshman Kevin Obarski reached on an error, but picked up an RBI by plating Gibbons.

Hayes made it a 13-2 game in the seventh when he blasted his first career home run over the left field wall.

Good improved to 2-0 as he shut down the Beavers all game. He posted his first career complete game by tossing 7.0 innings, allowing only two hits and two runs (one earned), while fanning nine batters.

Gibbons and Eric Yunker each finished the game 4-for-5, with Gibbons tallying three RBIs and scoring two runs while Yunker knocked in one and scored two runs himself.

Katana added three more hits on the day to give him 137 in his career, moving him into 21st all time at ONU. Gibbons' four hits put him at 119 for his career, making him tied for 30th all time.

Rader finished the day 3-for-7, including hits in each game, to extend his hitting streak to ten games.

The Polar Bears make their home debut Saturday, as they take on Manchester (Ind.) in a twinbill, with the first pitch at Wander Field at 1 pm.