Marietta, Ohio – May 13, 2011 – Second-seeded Heidelberg University recorded 21 hits en route to topping fourth-seeded John Carroll University 14-5 in an elimination game of the 2011 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament. The four-team double elimination tournament is hosted by Marietta College at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta, Ohio. Heidelberg, ranked ninth in the nation, increased its overall record to 33-10, while JCU concludes its season at 19-20.
The victory earned Heidelberg a spot in the championship game against top-seeded Marietta on Saturday. Tomorrow Heidelberg will make its sixth appearance, fourth consecutive, in the championship game. Of its previous five trips to the title game, Heidelberg has battled Marietta four times, including the last three straight years. And in 2004 and 2008, Heidelberg rallied to top the Pioneers twice on championship day to win the trophy. Its win in 2004 came at Don Schaly Stadium. Overall Heidelberg has won four tournament titles (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010). The winner of the tournament earns an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III Baseball Championships.
The Berg landed an opportunity to battle for another tournament championship after opening with a 14-5 win over the University of Mount Union, the third seed, on Thursday. Earlier today Heidelberg dropped a tough 4-0 decision to Marietta to fall into this elimination game with the Blue Streaks.
Heidelberg’s offense wasted little time getting going in the contest. Its first four batters reached base and the inning ended with two runs on the board courtesy of three hits and two walks. Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland) got the scoring going with a RBI single to right field and two batters later Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) sent one across home with a single to left field.
Another inning, another Keen RBI was marked into the scorebook. Keen worked a full count, with two outs, and sent one to right center field to bring in Jordan Martin (Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty) to extend Heidelberg’s lead to 3-0 after the top of the second.
After two scoreless innings on both sides, a Heidelberg miscue in the fifth sent a JCU runner home to erase a shutout.
Heidelberg went to work at the plate in the sixth, scoring five runs off of five hits to go ahead 8-1. Getting the scoring started was a successful safety squeeze laid down by Martin to send Derek Andrzejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview) sliding safely into home. After two base running outs, the Berg rallied. Keen picked up his second two-out full count RBI single to score Elvin Williams Jr. (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid). Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start) had a single and Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic) earned a walk to load the bases. Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) made it three runs in the inning after drawing a bases loaded walk. Monroe then stepped to the plate and had a two-RBI double to right center to move the Berg on top by seven.
John Carroll pulled within four runs, 8-4, with a three-hit, three-run seventh. However, Heidelberg responded with RBI at bats from Brechun, Andrzejczak, Martin, Williams and Keen to go ahead 14-4 in the top of the eighth. Keen led the way knocking in two runs.
The Blue Streaks plated a run in its last at bat to push the final score to 14-5.
Patience was key for the Berg hitters. Heidelberg registered a hit in every inning except the fifth to finish with its 21. Keen went 4-for-6 with four RBI and two runs scored, while Brechun was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Finishing with three hits apiece was Williams and Monroe. Rounding out those with multiple hits was Lizcano and Martin.
Having a great start on the mound was Ethan Holt (Galion, Ohio / West Holmes). The sophomore right-hander went 6.0 innings and scattered seven hits. He gave up three runs, two earned, while striking out five and walking four to increase his record to 8-2. He gave way to Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) with two runners on in the sixth. Lowe threw one inning and gave up one hit and one earned run. Finishing the game on the mound was Zach O’Driscoll (Hudson, Ohio / Walsh Jesuit). In two innings of work O’Driscoll threw a two-hitter and gave up one earned run, with one strike out.