University Heights, Ohio – April 7, 2011 – An Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of host John Carroll University extended the Heidelberg University baseball team’s overall record to 20-4, marking the 12th consecutive season the program has reached the 20-win plateau. Heidelberg kept its streak alive with a 2-0 win in game one and followed it with an 11-2 win in the night cap. Against OAC foes the Berg improves to 4-0. The two setbacks drop the Blue Streaks to 7-12 and 1-3.
Guiding the Berg to the 20-win mark every year has been veteran head coach Matt Palm. The five-time OAC Coach of the Year and the reigning Mideast Region Coach of the Year has produced an overall record of 365-150-2 since taking over the program in 2000.
Aggressive base running by Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville) and Zach Colatruglio (Brunswick, Ohio / Brunswick) in the fifth inning helped set the stage for Heidelberg’s game one victory.
With one out, Buelow drew a walk. Colatruglio followed with a single to left field and Buelow took two bases with a head first slide into third. On the throw to third Colatruglio claimed second base forcing a throw from JCU’s third baseman. An errant throw to second sent Buelow home for the first run of the game.
Jordan Martin (Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty) made it two hits in a row and Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start) loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) got credit with the second RBI of the game after being hit by a pitch.
In the bottom half of the fifth the host Blue Streaks threatened. Heidelberg starter Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer) got two strike outs but left two on base for closer Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll). Lowe walked his first batter to load the bases for JCU, but a diving stop by short stop Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) got a force out at second on the next batter to stop a potential scoring streak by John Carroll.
Heidelberg’s defense and Lowe worked together for two strike outs and a double play to assist with keeping JCU scoreless in the last two innings.
James got the win on the mound to improve to 3-1 on the year. He went 4.2 innings and allowed just four hits, while striking out four. Lowe went the final 2.1 innings and preserved his seventh win on the year. The career saves leader at the Berg gave up just one hit and struck out two.
At the plate, finishing with two of Heidelberg’s four hits was Martin.
In game two, Heidelberg led off with an out, but answered with five consecutive hits to build a 2-0 lead after a half inning of play. Monroe and Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland) had back-to-back doubles to trade places on the base paths. Brechun followed with a single to put runners on the corners for a RBI single from Lash.
John Carroll tied the ballgame with some uncharacteristic miscues by the Berg in the bottom of the second. With one out, a sacrifice bunt ended with an overthrow to first base to put two JCU runners in scoring position. Both base runners would score on wild pitches to tie the game. John Carroll went on to gain another base runner on a Berg error, but Martin caught him stealing second before Sylvester Nino (Willard, Ohio / Willard) settled in on the mound to get a strike out to end the threat.
After three scoreless innings on both sides, a RBI single by Lizcano in the sixth proved to be the eventual game-winning run. Lizcano’s RBI was the first of four straight scoring innings for the Berg to close out the contest in the winner’s column.
Heidelberg broke things open with a five-run seventh. Four straight hits resulted in four runs, while another was plated on a wild pitch. Leading the charge was a two-RBI double from Lash. Also knocking in a run was Brechun and Arneal Squibb (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka).
Another ’Berg run scored in the eighth off a sacrifice fly from Brechun and the final two runs came home in the ninth courtesy of Martin and Lizcano.
For the game the Berg hitters pounded 19 hits. Lash went 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Lizcano and Squibb each had three hits apiece. Lizcano knocked in two runs and Squibb scored twice. Also finishing with multiple hits was Monroe, Keen, Brechun and Buelow.
On the mound, Nino overcame a rough start to get the win. He went 5.2 innings and gave up three hits. Nino gave up two runs, with just one earned. En route to the win he struck out seven. Lowe got his eighth save of the year, which is one shy of tying for second place in the single season record book. He already owns the record of 12 set a aseason ago. He threw the final 3.1 innings and did not give up a run and allowed just three hits.
The two saves on the day by Lowe increases his career total to 38, which tops the NCAA record book heading into the 2011 season. The 2011 NCAA annuals list the NCAA career saves record heading into the year at 35 set by Mike Spavento of Wheaton College from 1999-2002. Lowe tied the record at Muskingum University on Sunday and has picked up three more saves since then to stand at 38.