Tiffin, Ohio - April 28, 2010 - For the third straight season, sixth time overall, the Heidelberg University baseball team, under the guidance of Matt Palm, has reached the 30-win plateau. Heidelberg swept an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader with Otterbein College on senior day to improve to 30-6 on the year. The Berg won 5-3 in game one and returned for a 10-1 victory in game two.
More importantly, the sweep maintains no. 4 ranked Heidelberg's position atop the league standings with a record of 11-3. Otterbein falls to 17-16 overall and 8-7 in league play.
Today's doubleheader was the final regular season home games for catcher Steve Decker(Maumee, Ohio / Springfield) and right-handed pitcher Everett Thomas (Nashua, N.H. / Evansville (Ind.)). The duo has guided the Berg to three consecutive OAC Regular Season Titles and two straight OAC Tournament trophies and Mideast Regional apperances. Thus far in their careers, Decker and Thomas have led the Berg to an overall record of 136-40 and a 54-14 league mark.
Heidelberg wasted little time getting going in game one, scoring two runs in its first at bat.Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start) led the inning off with a walk and rounded the bases to score on a fielder's choice by Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic). Jason Lash(Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville)followed Brechun with an RBI single to left field.
Otterbein plated a run in the second and another in the fourth to tie the ballgame at two runs apiece. However, the tie did not phase the Berg as they responded with three runs over the next two innings for the win.
In the fifth, Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland) had an RBI double to score Decker. And the final runs for the Berg came in the sixth. With two outs, and two on, Decker connected for a double to deep right center to plate Justin Suddeth (Warren, Ohio / Howland) and Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville).
The Cardinals final run came in the seventh to push the final at 5-3.
Junior Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) got his first start of his collegiate career and did not disapoint. He threw a complete-game five-hitter. He struck out two and gave up three earned runs. For the year he improved to 3-1, to go along with his eight saves.
Heidelberg finished with five hits on the day. Picking up hits was Decker, Keen, Brechun, Lash and Travis McClarney (Mt. Vernon, Ind./ Reitz).
A solid at bat by Derek Andrzejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview) and smart base running assited the Berg in breaking a scoreless tie in the second inning of game two. Andrzejczak had an RBI single through the left side to knock in Lash, who led the inning off with a walk. Heidelberg extended its advantage to three after Lizcano scored on a wild pitch and Andrzejczak crossed home plate on a passed ball.
Lizcano doubled up Heidelberg's lead with a three-run home run to left field in the fourth. Lizcano's home run was his team-leading 10th on the year.
The Cardinals erased the Berg shutout in the sixth with a Robb Hendershot RBI single to left center field. Decker would get the run back in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot to left center. Keen, Brechun and Lash combined with Decker to make it four-straight at bats with a hit to extend Heidelberg's lead to 9-1. Aside from Decker's run, Brechun had a double to score Keen, while Lash brought Brechun home with a single to right center.
Both sides were held without a run in the seventh, but Decker found his spot in left field once again in the eighth with his second solo home run of the game to give the Berg a 10-1 lead.
Picking up his first win on the mound was Elvin Williams (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid). Williams threw a five-hitter over the course of 6.0 innings to pick up the win. He struck out three in the process.
Decker and Keen each finished at 3-for-5 to register six of Heidelberg's 14 hits in game two. Also recording multiple hits was Lizcano and Andrzejczak. Lizcano led the way with four runs batted in, while Decker has two.