Alliance, Ohio - May 7, 2010 - The Heidelberg University baseball team closed out its 2010 regular season with an Ohio Athletic Conference sweep of Mount Union College at 23rd Street Field in Alliance, Ohio today, May 7. The Berg won game one 9-4 and returned in game two to post an 11-4 victory. The sweep gave Heidelberg its fifth OAC Regular Season Title in the history of the program (2003, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010), all of which have came under the guidance of head coach Matt Palm. Since the inception of the league regular season trophy in 2000, the Berg has the second most titles, just one behind Marietta College.
For the year Heidelberg stands at 34-6 overall and closes out league play at 15-3. Heidelberg opened up league play 4-3 and rattled off 11 consecutive wins to take home the top spot.
Its regular season championship gives the Berg the right to host the 2010 OAC Tournament May 13-15 at Peaceful Valley. It is the fourth straight year that the conference tournament will pass through Tiffin, Ohio. The winner of the four-team double elimination tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.
It is the second straight weekend that Heidelberg has won an OAC Title. A week ago Heidelberg's outdoor track and field team won a championship. Overall during the 2009-10 academic year the Heidelberg athletic teams have combined to win five conference championships, with four coming at Mount Union. Joining the baseball and track and field teams is volleyball, wrestling and men's cross country.
Not only has Heidelberg's 2010 regular season produced a league championship, but it has set a handful of single-season records. Leading the list of record breakers is Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start). He has moved atop the single-season list for runs scored, runs batted in and total bases. Also moving into the top spot is Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic) in doubles, Steve Decker(Maumee, Ohio / Springfield) for hit by pitches and Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) in saves. Brechun's 24 doubles also has set a new OAC single-season record. As a team the Berg as set a new single season record for hit by pitches.
In the opener, Heidelberg had a don't quit attitude that led to the victory as six of its nine runs came with two outs.
Heidelberg scored the first six runs of the game after two innings of action. Leading the way was a four-run, four-hit second inning. With the bases loaded, Lizcano and Decker had back-to-back RBI at bats to push Heidelberg's early lead to 4-0. Two batters later, and two outs, Brechun and Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) knocked in a run apiece in consecutive at bats to extend Heidelberg's advantage to six.
Mount Union erased a shutout in the third inning with a two-run home run, but the Berg got one of those runs back in the fourth with an RBI double from Andrew Buelow(Marysville, Mich. / Marysville). However, the Purple Raiders answered in the bottom of the fourth with another run of its own.
In the sixth, with two outs, Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) connected for a solo home run to left field to give Heidelberg eight runs. Decker rounded out the scoring for the Berg in the seventh with a sacriface fly to right field.
Mount Union closed out its scoring in its last at bat with a sacriface fly to center field.
Sophomore left-handed starter Elvin Williams (Eulcid, Ohio / Euclid) and Lowe combined for the victory on the mound. Williams threw a two-hitter over 4.0 innings and gave up three earned runs, while striking out three. For the year he improves to 2-0. Lowe threw the final three innings and allowed three hits and one earned run, while striking out one. He preserved his ninth win on the year, which ties his own single-season record that he has set every year at the Berg. Also sitting atop the saves single season record book is Ben Thorpe with nine in 2003.
At the plate, Heidelberg registered 12 hits, with five being extra base snags. Leading the way was Lash going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored. Finishing 2-for-4 was Brechun and Lizcano. Brechun also knocked in two runs.
In game two, Heidelberg scored two runs in the first and never looked back en route to the sweep. The two early runs came with two outs and off the bats of Brechun and Lash. Brechun had a double to left field followed by a single down the right field line by Lash.
Heidelberg extended its lead to three off a Mount Union miscue in the third. However, the Purple Raiders answered with a two-run home run in the bottom half of the inning to pull within a run, 3-2.
After a scoreless fourth on both sides, Heidelberg doubled its score off of three hits. Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland), Brechun and Lash went together for three consecutive RBI at bats. Mount Union went on to score another run in the bottom of the fifth to put the score at 6-3.
Over the final four innings, Heidelberg went on to outscore Mount Union 5-1 for the win. Leading the way was a four-run ninth. Two of the runs came with two outs and off a single from Williams.
Junior right-hand starter Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer) got the win on the mound to improve to 6-2 for the year. He threw 6.0 innings, allowing eight hits, while striking out four.
At the plate, Heidelberg's hitter finished with 13 hits, six of which were extra base hits. Keen led the way going 4-for-5 with three doubles, three runs scored and two runs batted in. Lash was not far behind at 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Brechun and Decker each finished with two hits apiece and combined to score five times.