Heidelberg University dropped its first two conference games of the year, 4-3 and 4-2, to Otterbein University on a chilly Tuesday in Peaceful Valley.
Otterbein drew first blood with one run in the top of the third. After a pitch from Heidelberg starter Adam Manner (Bellevue) hit Scott Staarmann to lead off the inning, Tyler Kent singled into right advancing Staarmann to second. With two on Billy Harkenrider grounded out to Berg third baseman, Jordan Martin (Powell/Olentangy Liberty) advancing the runners.
With one out, Otterbein’s starting pitcher Wes Meadows grounded out to Martin scoring Staarmann from third.
The Cardinals added another run in the fourth that began with a singles by Jordan Ashbrook and Thomas Linder. Ashbrook would advance to third on a throwing error and score when Chad Webster singled to second.
Manner retired the next three batters he faced escaping the inning with only one run given up.
The Student Princes came to life in the bottom of the fourth when Alex Grove (Canal Fulton/Canton Central Catholic) slapped a single into center field to lead off the inning. Grove advanced to second on a balk by Meadows and was driven in by Eric Monroe’s (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) deep single into right center.
In the Otterbein half of the fifth with runners of the corners, Meadows hammered a deep fly ball to left fielder Derek Hug (Bryan) that scored Harkenrider from third. The Cardinals took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
After surrendering another run in the top of the sixth, Manner was replaced with senior Teddy Lowe (Fort Wayne, IN/Carroll). Lowe surrendered a base on balls before forcing Meadows to ground into an inning ending double play.
The Berg bats remained on ice until the seventh when Hug led off the inning with a single down the right side. Pinch-hitter Doug Miller (West Friendship, MD/Glenelg Country School) struck out swinging before Joe Chiarappa (Clinton/St. Vincent-St. Mary’s) came on as a pinch hitter and flied out to right center.
With two outs, second baseman Joe Staab (Bellville/Clear Fork) reached on an error by the Cardinal’s third baseman leaving two runners on for Arneal Squibb (Mishawaka, IN/Mishawaka). Squibb rocketed a triple to the wall in right center scoring both Hug and Staab and bringing the Berg deficit to one.
Grove stepped into the batter’s box representing the winning run for the Berg but Meadows forced the Student Prince to ground out to second base to close out game one.
Meadows picked up the complete game win, striking out seven.
In game two, Heidelberg struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Staab singled to center and moved to second when the centerfielder misplayed the ball. Staab moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Squibb.
Freshman right-hander Steve Huber (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial) received the first start of his career. Huber allowed the tying run to score on a two-out double in the third.
The score remained 1-1 in the top of the sixth. Ashbrook led off with a single on a bouncer down the line. After Lowe relieved Huber, Mike Mackessy hit a bloop single to right. With no outs and runners on the corners, Pitzer hit into a 5-4-3 double play. During the play, the home plate umpire ruled that Mackessy interfered with Staab at second. Because of that ruling, Ashbrook had to return to third base.
With two down, Kyle Fluharty (Plymouth/Willard) relieved Lowe. After issuing a walk, Fluharty got a grounder to third to end the inning.
Huber threw five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out six.
The Student Princes rode the momentum into the bottom of the sixth. Squibb singled to lead off and moved to second when Monroe was hit with a pitch. With two down, Ben Blystone (Brownsburg, IN) lined a single to center to score Squibb, which made the score 2-1.
The Cardinals answered in the seventh. Kent reached on an error by Monroe and moved to second on a groundout. Meadows followed with an infield single, which extended his hitting streak to a school record 26 games. Fluharty walked Kettering on four pitches, with the fourth a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score from third.
Travis Gray (Markle, IN/Norwell) relieved Fluharty with two on and one out. Gray struck out Ashbrook before allowing an RBI single from Mackessy. Meadows slid in just ahead of the relay throw home from Martin to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, back-to-back singles by Martin and Andrew Zenczak (Brunswick) put two on with no outs. Otterbein starter Taylor Ellis got Staab to fly out to right. Ellis then fanned Squibb and Grove, both called, to end the threat.
Otterbein added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a two-out RBI single from Mackessy.
Heidelberg was unable to recapture their Peaceful Valley magic. Cardinal closer Dominic Porretta picked up the save, getting three ‘Berg pinch hitters in order.
Fluharty took the loss, giving up two unearned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Heidelberg returns to action on Saturday with an OAC doubleheader at Muskingum.