TIFFIN – On Senior Day, Heidelberg University baseball swept Mount Union in an OAC doubleheader, 6-0 and 15-5. Despite the cold temperatures, Heidelberg was sharp in all phases of the game.
Leftfielder Derek Hug (Bryan) had a two-run triple and a solo home run to lead the Heidelberg attack in the first game.
Heidelberg (18-13, 7-7) scored an unearned run without notching a hit to take the lead in the first. Joe Staab (Bellville/Clear Fork) was hit by a pitch from Mount Union starter Tom Bekelesky to start the inning. After a foul out, Steve Morse (Scottsdale, AZ/St. Mary’s) reached on a fielding error by the first baseman that allowed Staab to scamper to third. Alex Grove (Canal Fulton/Canton Central Catholic) lifted a sacrifice fly into rightcenter for an RBI.
After Bekelesky retired the first two hitters in the third, Morse singled to right and moved to second on a walk to Grove. Hug chased both home with a triple to the warning track in rightcenter, giving the Student Princes a 3-0 lead.
Heidelberg would pad their lead in the bottom of the fourth. The Student Princes loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman. Arneal Squibb laced a single to right to score Andrew Zenczak (Brunswick). After Mount Union summoned Gino Ceriani from the bullpen, Morse hit a sacrifice fly to score Jordan Martin (Powell/Olentangy Liberty).
Hug’s fifth inning solo blast pushed the Berg lead to 6-0.
‘Berg starter Ethan Holt (Galion/West Holmes) got a stellar defensive effort from his teammates. Ben Blystone (Brownsburg, IN) made a diving catch in the third. Martin made a diving stop on a ball hit to third and threw to second for a force. In the fourth, Zenczak handled a tricky bouncer that hit the mound and caught the lip of the infield at shortstop. Zenczak went to his backhand to initiate a 6-4-3 double play to end the sixth.
Holt threw a complete game four-hit shutout. The senior walked five and struck out six to improve to 4-1. Despite missing his junior year to injury, Holt has amassed 22 wins during his career.
“It’s been a shot in the arm to get Ethan back,” said head coach Matt Palm. “He stabilizes the rotation and he helps the whole team feel comfortable.”
In the nightcap, T.J. Harkness (Fremont/Ross) hit a two-run two-out single to highlight a three-run first inning for The Berg. Prior to the Harkness hit, Doug Miller (West Friendship, MD/Glenelg Country School) drew a bases-loaded walk for an RBI.
A Zenczak walk and a sacrifice bunt by Martin led to two Heidelberg runs in the fourth. Staab hit a bouncer up the middle and into centerfield to score Zenczak. A bunt from Squibb pushed Staab to second. He scored on a single to right from Morse.
Just like Holt in the first game, freshman righthander Steve Huber (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial) pitched well and got help from solid ‘Berg defense. Zenczak made a diving stop in the hole at short, popped up and made a strong throw to get the runner at first in the fifth. The infielders twisted two double plays to help Huber.
The Student Princes tacked on three more in the fifth. With the bases loaded, Martin pulled a double down the left field line, scoring Hug and Miller. Staab followed with a sacrifice fly to score Zenczak.
In the sixth, Grove hit his second homer of the season, a two-run shot to right. Heidelberg would add seven in the inning to take a 15-0 lead.
Adam Manner (Bellevue) relieved Huber to start the seventh and ran into a bit of trouble. After allowing a pair of hits and a pair of walks in a third of an inning, Manner departed with the bases loaded. Teddy Lowe (Fort Wayne, IN/Carroll) relieved but allowed all inherited runners to score before he could get out of the inning.
Huber threw six innings and allowed three hits and struck out two to pick up his first collegiate win.
Senior Danny Kilger (Novi, MI) worked a scoreless eighth inning.
Tyler Fruhwirth (Beavercreek), the last of Palm’s seniors to see action during the afternoon, worked the ninth inning, pitching to Martin, who shifted from third to behind the plate. Normally a starter, Fruhwirth allowed a run to score, but closed the game out.
In the sweep, Heidelberg notched six extra-base hits, drew nine walks and was hit by two pitches.
“We’ve worked hard on being patient, taking tough pitches and waiting for their opportunity to drive the ball,” said Palm. “From that approach, we’ve increased the number of baserunners and have yielded some big innings.”
The wins move Heidelberg into fifth place in the OAC, but the fourth seed of the tournament because of Baldwin Wallace’s self-imposed postseason ban.
Heidelberg will play three non-conference single games this week. Trine visits Peaceful Valley on Tuesday. The Berg travels to Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday. On Thursday, Denison travels to Tiffin. All games start at 4 p.m.