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ONU Softball wins second straight OAC Tournament title

The top-seeded Ohio Northern softball team won the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament championship on Sunday, May 8, defeating No. 3 seed Mount Union 4-3 at the ONU softball field to cap an unbeaten run through the tournament.

This marks the second straight OAC Tournament title for the Polar Bears (24-9 overall) and their seventh in program history, and it earns them the league's automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament.

ONU will find out its NCAA Tournament destination and first-round opponent on Monday.

Mount Union, which ends its season at 23-18-1 overall, eliminated No. 2 seed Muskingum earlier in the day with a 3-0 victory to advance to play ONU.

In the tournament's double-elimination format, the Polar Bears needed just one win to claim the championship and rallied for the victory after trailing 2-0 after one inning of play.

Designated as the home team for the game, Mount Union plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on an RBI double from Alyssa Rose, who later scored on a wild pitch.

With two outs in the top of the fourth, senior Lauren Renner (Columbus/Hilliard Bradley) scored from third on a wild pitch to cut ONU's deficit to 2-1.

The Polar Bears proceeded to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth after senior Abby Elliott (Loveland/Ursuline) hit a leadoff single that was followed by a walk to senior Rachel Hish (Gainesville, Va./Patriot).

Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and sophomore Kaylie Griffin (Grafton/Elyria Catholic) loaded the bases with a single.

Despite a Purple Raider pitching change, the hits kept coming for Northern, as senior Hannah Rubel (Swanton/Notre Dame) followed with a 2-RBI single.

Renner added an RBI single before Mount Union was able to get out of the inning.

The Purple Raiders got within 4-3 on a one-out sacrifice fly from Adri George in the bottom of the sixth but were unable to get any closer.

Junior pitcher Allie Bican (Solon) struck out the next batter and was relieved by freshman Ashley Lenser (Brookville) after walking the leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Trailing 4-3, the Purple Raiders had runners on second and third with one out and Payton Guspyt at the plate.

Guspyt hit a fly ball to left field that was caught by Hish, and with Alexis Temple attempting to score from third, the outfielder threw a dart to Griffin, who was ready to apply the tag at home plate with time to spare to secure the victory for the Polar Bears.

With the win, Bican improved to 6-1 on the season after allowing three runs on six hits and two walks with one strikeout over six innings.

Lenser earned her second save of the season.

The Polar Bears out-hit Mount Union 8-6 with Griffin tallying a team-high three hits to go with two from Rubel, who had a team-best two RBIs.

Junior Sydney Motylinski (Ida, Mich.) had a double for ONU's lone extra-base hit of the game.