Tiffin, Ohio – May 12, 2010 - Heidelberg University will be the host institution for the 2010 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament. It is the fourth consecutive year, fifth time overall, that the tournament title will be decided at Peaceful Valley in Tiffin, Ohio. Heidelberg earned the right to host the tournament May 13-15 be virtue of claiming its fifth OAC Regular Season Title.
Heidelberg is the no. 1 seed and will be joined by no. 2 Marietta College, no. 3 John Carroll University and no. 4 Muskingum University. The top three seeds are repeat entries from a season ago, while the Muskies are making their first appearance since 1994.
The tournament begins on Thursday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. when Heidelberg takes on Muskingum followed by a 4:00 p.m. contest between Marietta and John Carroll.
Heidelberg enters the tournament with an overall record of 34-6 and is ranked fourth in the nation according to D3baseball.com. Its 34 wins in the regular season marks the most ever and the Berg eclipsed the 30-win plateau for the third straight year and fifth time in the history of the program. Heidelberg closed out the year atop the league standings at 15-3 and is making its 11th appearance in the OAC Tournament, including its eighth straight. Heidelberg has won the title in 2004, 2008 and 2009.
At the plate, four players are hitting over .400 for the year. Leading the way is Ricardo Lizcano at .457 followed by Willie Brechun at .447, Steve Decker at .412 and Jason Lash at .408. Lizcano also leads the way in runs scored (62), home runs (12) and runs batted in (63), while sharing team honors with Alex Monroe with 13 stolen bases. Lizcano’s 64 RBI set a new single-season record at the Berg. Brechun has connected for an OAC, and Heidelberg single-season record 24 doubles, while also leading the way on the team with 76 hits. On the mound, Ethan Holt leads the staff with a 2.30 ERA, an 8-1 record and 50 strike outs. Andy Lowe has nine saves, which ties his single-season record, while striking out 34. Brian Koehl is 7-0 with 43 strike outs.
The Pioneers of Marietta are making its 38th appearance in the tournament, which leads all OAC schools. Marietta has won 27 titles, including 13 consecutive from 1990-2002. The Pioneers have also finished runner-up seven times, including the last two years. Marietta, ranked 17th in the nation, brings an overall record of 30-9 and closed out its league schedule in second at 13-5.
Leading the way for Marietta is Britt Meador hitting .435. Backing Meador is Kirby Becker(.410), John Snyder (.403) and Dan Jones (.400). Snyder has a team-leading 60 hits, 45 runs batted in and 16 doubles. Chris Beatty is second with 57 hits, while Tim Saundersleads the way on the base paths with 16 steals. The pitching staff is lead by Brian Gasser’s 3.00 earned run average. Gasser and Austin Blaski have eight wins apiece and Kyle Lindquist has preserved seven wins. Striking out a staff-best 63 batters is Blaski.
Third-seeded John Carroll boasts an overall record of 25-14 and stood third in the final standings at 12-6. A tournament championship has eluded the Blue Streaks in seven trips to the postseason. JCU has made just one appearance in the championship (1998).
Brian Benander leads the way at the plate for the Blue Streaks hitting .437 and also sits atop the team with 44 runs scored. Ryan Pacyga is second in batting average at .396, but leads the team in hits (55), runs batted in (49) and home runs (8). John Hastings is the top base running threat with 10 stolen bases on the year. Michael Eden has a team-best 2.93 ERA in 27.2 innings of work. He is second with 41 strike outs behind Tony Evanko’s43. Picking up four wins apiece is Eden and John Moonan. Eden also leads the pitching staff with six saves.
Rounding out the four-team field is Muskingum. The Muskies are making just their fourth appearance at the OAC Tournament, joining its trips in 1990, 1992 and 1994. Muskingum has never won a tournament title, but made an appearance in the championship in 1992. For the year Muskingum is 22-16 overall and finished fourth in the OAC regular season at 11-7.
Heading into the tournament, Erik Spitzer leads Muskingum at the plate with a .394 batting average, to go along with a team-best 54 hits and 18 doubles. Brock Whitemanhas knocked in a team leading 36 runs and scored 41 runs of his own. Wes Carder is a threat on the base paths, tallying 13 steals on the year. On the mound, Michael Congrovehas a 3.88 earned run average to lead the pitching staff. Jared Patterson has a staff leading six victories and 54 strike outs.