By Blake Moore
PLANT CITY, Fla. — The Ohio Northern softball program upended area-rival Bluffton 11-2 and Simmons (Mass.) 10-2 in two five-inning affairs Friday afternoon during the 2019 Sunkissed Games in Plant City, Florida.
Both games ended in five innings due to the NCAA's eight-run rule.
With the victories, the Polar Bears improve to 4-4 overall this season. Meanwhile, the Beavers and the Sharks each fell to 2-8 overall in 2019.
Freshman pitcher Madison Anderson (Akron/Ellet) proved to be a force in the ring during her second career start against Bluffton. The Akron product improved to 2-0 this season after conceding just three hits, striking out two, and allowing no earned runs over the five-inning contest.
She also had a strong showing at the plate, going three-for-three with two runs scored and an RBI to her credit.
Senior Kaitlin Surdej secured the sweep with another solid pitching performance in game two. She tossed all five innings, struck out two batters, and gave up just two earned runs to even her 2019 record at 2-2.
May scored three times on the day and finished her afternoon with a four-for-six effort at the dish.
Meanwhile, Guest went four-for-seven overall, which included two doubles and a team-high four runs scored.
In game one, the Polar Bears bolted out to an early 9-0 lead through two at-bats due to nine base hits and two Bluffton fielding miscues. Guest and Loughman slapped back-to-back RBI doubles to score two runs in the first before a seven-run rally in the second allowed ONU to pull away for good.
The Beavers tacked on two runs in the bottom of the second inning following an ONU error.
After a scoreless third inning, the Polar Bears plated two more runs on a two-RBI triple from freshman catcher/infielder Sydney Newland (Ada), which concluded the game one scoring.
During game two, Simmons rolled out to an early 1-0 lead after one inning following an RBI double from Christie Bott.
However, Ohio Northern rattled off 10 straight runs to regain command of the nonconference affair, including one run in the second and nine in the third.
In the fourth and fifth frames, the Sharks threatened a comeback with back-to-back bases-loaded situations. Surdej went unscathed in the fourth after inducing a fly out and conceded just one run in the fifth before striking out Alex Morang to end the game.
Ohio Northern will conclude their annual Spring Break trip tomorrow against No. 20-ranked St. Benedict (Minn.) and WPI (Mass.) at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., respectively.