TIFFIN – With temperatures in the 30s and a gusty wind blowing at Peaceful Valley, there wasn’t much for the home crowd to cheer about. After dropping two games on Saturday, Heidelberg University baseball trailed 4-2 in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against Case Western Reserve.
Then the Heidelberg bats came to life.
A two-run double by pinch-hitter Doug Miller (West Friendship, MD/Glenelg Country School) tied the game and an RBI fielder’s choice by Ben Blystone (Brownsburg, IN) scored pinch-runner Noah Reiter (Ferndale, MI) for the game-winner.
Heidelberg (11-6) had just five hits but used four Spartan errors in the 5-4 victory.
Heidelberg drew first blood with a pair of runs in the fourth. Joe Staab (Bellville/Clear Fork) was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a bloop single by Eric Monroe (Chagrin Falls/Kenston). Steve Morse (Scottsdale, AZ/St. Mary’s) hit a grounder down the first base line that got past a diving Brett Ossola. Staab slid safely into home just ahead of the tag by Spartan catcher Robert Winemiller. Monroe, who advanced to third on the Morse single, scored on a groundout by Trevor Oldham (Akron/Hoban).
Case answered in the fifth. Andrew Frey hit a bouncer through the left side and scored from first on a double to left by William Meador. Meador scored on a two-out single by Matt Keen. The runs snapped Adam Manner’s (Bellevue) shutout streak at 16.1 innings to start his career.
With the score tied at two, Case scored in the sixth. Manner issued a walk to Paul Pakan to start the inning. Brett Ossola lifted a ball into left field that was mishandled by Joe Chiarappa (Clinton/St. Vincent – St. Mary). Travis Gray (Markle, IN/Norwell) relieved Manner. Winemiller bunted to sacrifice the runners over, but Gray threw to third. Pakan slid in ahead of the throw to load the bases. Frey hit into a 4-6-3 double play which allowed Pakan to score the go-ahead run.
Manner, in his first collegiate start, threw five innings and allowed three runs. He struck out two.
Heidelberg’s Kyle Fluharty (Plymouth/Willard) worked the ninth inning, allowing an unearned run while picking up the win. It appeared as though Fluharty had Kerrigan Cain picked off of first, but the throw sailed down the right field line. Cain scored from first on the play.
Case reliever Josh Suvak, who worked a scoreless seventh and eighth, didn’t get much help from his defense in the ninth. After a one-out single by Arneal Squibb (Mishawaka, IN), a grounder to third by T.J. Harkness (Fremont/Ross) got past Mike Ilacqua. With two on, Austin Fleming sent a pop up into foul territory in front of the Case dugout. Ossola couldn’t hang on to it and Fleming eventually drew a walk. With the bases loaded, Miller laced a Suvak pitch over the head of Kerrigan Cain in left, which scored Squibb and Harkness. Even with a drawn in infield, Reiter scored on a tapper to third by Blystone.
Weather permitting, Heidelberg will travel to La Roche on Tuesday before opening up OAC play with a doubleheader at Wilmington on Friday.