Tiffin, Ohio – May 7, 2011 – The nationally ranked Heidelberg University baseball team closed out the 2011 regular season with an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader split with the University of Mount Union this afternoon on senior day at Peaceful Valley in Tiffin, Ohio. The visiting Purple Raiders posted an 8-4 win in the opener, but the Berg bounced back for a 5-3 victory in game two.
Following the split the Berg boasts an overall record of 31-9 and closes out league play at 13-5. Heidelberg, under the guidance of 12th-year head coach Matt Palm, finished runner-up in the league standings. It is the eighth straight season that the Berg has finished in the top-three in the league standings. Its runner-up finish secures a second seed in the four-team OAC Tournament set for May 12-14 at Marietta College. Heidelberg has won four conference tournament titles, including three consecutive. Its first title came in 2004 and was claimed on Marietta’s home field, while the last three have been won at Peaceful Valley. The winner of the tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Mideast Regionals hosted by Marietta.
Today’s doubleheader also marked the final home games for 13 Heidelberg seniors. Following the games Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll), Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer), Mitch Jones (Dayton, Ohio / Oakwood), Branden Stucky (Medina, Ohio / Medina), Brian Koehl (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview), Derek Andrzejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview), Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland), Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville), Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic), Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston), Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville), Joe Rourke (Lockport, Ill. / Lockport) and Blake Thornton (Olivet, Mich. / Olivet) were recognized for their commitment to the baseball program.
In game one, Mount Union used a five-run third inning to increase a one-run advantage en route to the win. The Purple Raiders opened with two runs in its first at bat, but Heidelberg’s leadoff Elvin Williams Jr. (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) sent the first pitch over the right field fence to cut Mount Union’s lead in half. After Mount Union’s five runs in the top of the third, Heidelberg’s Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start) had a two-out home run to left field to pull the Berg within five runs, 7-2. The scoring concluded in the fifth. Mount Union got a run in the top half of the inning and the Berg won the inning with two in the bottom, but could not overcome its deficit.
Ethan Holt (Galion, Ohio / West Holmes) suffered the loss on the mound. He got the start and went 2.1 innings. He allowed seven hits, seven runs, while striking out one. For the year Holt stands at 7-2.
The Heidelberg hitters registered eight hits in the setback. Finishing with two apiece was Lizcano and Andrzejczak. Lizcano also had two runs batted in and scored one.
After a scoreless first in game two, Mount Union scored a run in the second. However, the Berg responded with two in the bottom of the second to gain the lead that it would never relinquish. The Purple Raiders tied the game on two occasions, but the Berg hitters responded every time.
Helping to put the Berg on top in the second was Brechun with a leadoff home run. Lash followed with a single and was knocked in by Monroe in the next at bat. In the fourth, Mount Union scored in the top half, but Monroe answered with a RBI triple to center field to get the run back.
The scoring concluded on both sides in the sixth. The visitors once again plated a single run in the top half to tie the ballgame. Heidelberg’s got the eventual game-winning run with a leadoff home run by Lizcano. Andrzejczak knocked in an insurance run to move the final score to 5-3.
Sylvester Nino (Willard, Ohio / Willard) came in relief and picked up the win. He threw a third of an inning and gave up just one hit and no runs to improve to 5-2. Lowe threw the final three innings and helped to preserve his 14th win on the year. Lowe struck out four, while allowing just three hits. James got the start on senior day and went 5.2 innings. He scattered 10 hits and struck out three. James gave up three runs, two earned.
Heidelberg finished with eight hits once again. Lash and Monroe led the way with two each. Monroe knocked in two runs, while Brechun and Lash each scored twice apiece.