Marietta, Ohio – May 21, 2011 – Bouncing back from a setback is not an easy task, but Heidelberg University stepped up to the challenge this afternoon in an elimination game in the 2011 NCAA Baseball Mideast Regional. Heidelberg plated multiple runs in four of the final five innings to post a 16-6 win over Case Western Reserve University. Heidelberg, ranked 10th in the nation and seeded second, improved to 36-12, while the Spartans were the sixth seed and closed out its season at 33-15.
The victory landed Heidelberg in the Mideast Regional Championship game for the second straight year. Heidelberg will take on top-seeded and host Marietta at 3:45 p.m. today. A season ago these two teams met in the championship game with the Berg posting a 6-2 victory to earn its first regional title. Heidelberg will have to top the Pioneers twice. A victory today will force a second game slated for Sunday afternoon.
It does not matter how you start, but how you finish and the Berg made a statement in its first at bat. With two outs in its first two at bats, the Berg went on to rattle off four consecutive hits to lead to a two-run first inning. Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start) got things going and utilized smart base running to get 90 feet away to set up a RBI single by Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) two batters later. Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) followed with a RBI single to plate the second run of the game.
Case Western Reserve cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the first with a RBI single from Sam Alexander. Heidelberg’s defense and starter Sylvester Nino (Willard, Ohio / Willard) got out of the inning with no more damage thanks large in part to a diving catch on the left field line by Monroe and a strike out to end any threat.
After a scoreless second on both sides, the Spartans tied the game with a RBI single by Matt Keen. After leading off the inning with two straight hits, Nino sent two balls out to his defense and got the third out via strike out to start a new ballgame at 2-2.
The Spartans took its first lead of the game in the fourth after a three-run inning.
Heidelberg’s hitters readjusted themselves in the batter’s box and went on to score 14 runs over the final five innings. Scoring began with a two runs in the fifth. With the bases loaded Lash and Monroe went to work with back-to-back RBI at bats to pull the Berg within a run at 5-3 after five innings.
It’s scoring down the stretch was highlighted by a five-run sixth. In the inning, Heidelberg registered five hits on just one hit. Patience was a virtue as the Berg worked the count for five walks, including bases loaded twice for two runs. Knocking in two runs was Lizcano, while the fifth came while the Spartans were turning a double play for the first two outs of the inning.
Case Western Reserve got a run in the bottom half of the sixth, but the Berg answered back with three more runs in the top of the next inning. Elvin Williams Jr. (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) had an RBI double for a run, while two more were plated courtesy of two Spartan errors.
The scoring continued for the Berg with three more in the eighth. Leading the way was a two-RBI double by Keen, while Jordan Martin (Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty) had a sacrifice fly.
In the ninth, Monroe had a single to right field to plate Heidelberg’s final run of the game.
Nino went 3.0 innings and gave up six hits and five runs, three runs in the no decision. He struck out two. Nino gave way to Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) and in five innings he threw a two-hitter with five strike outs and one run. Lowe got the win and improved to 5-1 on the year. Throwing the final inning was Brandon Stucky (Medina, Ohio / Medina). He did not give up a hit and had one strike out.
Heidelberg finished with 17 hits. Leading the way with three apiece was Keen, Lash and Monroe. Keen had four RBI and Lash and Monroe had three apiece.