MARIETTA, Ohio—Senior center fielder Elvin Williams (Euclid) hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the third inning and senior right-hander Sly Nino (Willard) never looked back on his way to his first career complete game as the No. 3 Heidelberg University baseball team defeated No. 2 seed the University of Mount Union, 16-3, today for the second straight time in the 2012 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta, Ohio. The win advances the Student Princes to Saturday’s championship game, where the Berg will face No. 1 seed and defending OAC and NCAA champion Marietta College in the championship for the fifth straight season.
Tomorrow’s game is slated for 12 p.m. If Heidelberg wins that game, the Berg will face Marietta in a second game tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. The Student Princes will need to win both games to earn the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional.
The Berg and the Pioneers have met for the OAC championship in each of the last four seasons, with Heidelberg claiming three conference titles from 2008-10, and Marietta capturing the crown last season. The Berg is 4-1 against Marietta in championship games over the last four seasons, with the 2008 championship requiring both games. The Student Princes are also 12-6 in 18 OAC tournament games against the Pioneers since 2003.
Nino struck out six and walked just three and allowed eight hits in his first career complete game, improving to 4-0.
Mount Union (28-15, 13-5 OAC) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning after a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Morino put two runners in scoring position and a sacrifice fly by Ricky Olasz scored Evan Knott.
The Purple Raiders added another run in the third on a run batted-in fielder’s choice by Zach Carlino.
Heidelberg (27-16, 11-7 OAC) tied the game in the bottom half of the third on a RBI groundout by senior left fielder Ross Pruitt (Elletsville, Ind./Edgewood) and a RBI single by senior right fielder Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo/Start), then took a 5-2 lead on a three-run home run by senior center fielder Elvin Williams (Euclid), his second of the tournament.
The Student Princes extended their lead to 6-2 in the fourth with a bases-loaded walk by Lizcano.
In the fifth, freshman third baseman Steve Kisan (Lakewood/St. Edward) scored on a wild pitch, then sophomore shortstop Andrew Zenczak (Brunswick) and sophomore second baseman Joe Staab (Bellville/Clearfork) scored on an error and the Berg vaulted to a 9-2 lead.
The Purple Raiders scored a run in the sixth on a RBI single by C.J. Stotler.
Zenczak scored again in the seventh on another wild pitch and a two-run double by Staab and a RBI double by Pruitt in the eighth keyed a six-run inning.
The Berg rapped out 17 hits and eight of nine Student Princes recorded safeties, including seven with multi-hit games. Lizcano was 2-for-5 with three RBI, Williams was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, and Staab was 3-for-5 with two RBI and three runs.
Stotler was 3-for-4 to lead the Purple Raider offense.
Tom Bekelsky started for Mount Union and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits and suffered the loss to fall to 2-2. Josh Pryor allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits and struck out four in 4.0 innings of relief. Mike Horning and Beau Smith combined to allow three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings.