Marietta, Ohio – May 12, 2011 – The no. 9 ranked Heidelberg University baseball team opened up action at the 2011 Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament with a 14-5 victory over the University of Mount Union. Heidelberg, the second seed, improved to 32-9 on the year, while third-seeded Mount Union falls to 17-19. The four-team tournament is hosted by Marietta College at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta, Ohio.
Heidelberg is making its 12th appearance at the OAC Tournament and has claimed four titles (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010). The Berg earned a spot in the league’s postseason tournament after finishing runner-up in the conference regular season standings. Heidelberg continues play in the tournament tomorrow, May 13, against Marietta College at noon. Marietta is the top-seed and posted a 4-1 win over fourth-seed John Carroll University in game one of the tournament.
A five-hit, five-run third inning broke open an early 1-0 ’Berg advantage. Getting Heidelberg on the board with a two-out solo home run to right field in the first was Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start).
In the third, two pitches turned into two hits for Heidelberg prior to Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic) working the count and eventually got hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) followed Brechun with a two-RBI double to left center to start the scoring in the inning for the Berg. Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) extended the Berg advantage to six with his first home run of the year. Monroe sent one to deep left field to plate three runs.
Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville) moved Heidelberg on top 7-0 in the fifth with a RBI two-out triple to left center field.
Heidelberg starter Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer) kept the Purple Raiders at bay early in the contest. James allowed just two hits through the first five innings of play, but Mount Union settled in the sixth to erase a shutout. Mount Union got three hits including a three-run home from Zach Carlino to pull the Purple Raiders within four runs, 7-3.
Heads up base running in the bottom half of the sixth helped set the stage for the Berg to get back its three runs it allowed Mount Union to score in the inning. Elvin Williams Jr. (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) and Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland) led the inning off with singles. Williams eventually scored on a passed ball, while Keen took two bases to stand at third base. Three batters later a RBI single to left by Lash plated Keen. Monroe continued with a RBI triple to left center to move the Berg on top 10-3.
Monroe was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to send a run across home for Heidelberg in seventh. It was the third straight batter in the inning that Mount Union hit.
Mount Union added to its run total in the eighth with two runs, but the Berg answered with three of its own to push the final score to 14-5. A single by Keen set in two runs, while Lizcano knocked in one.
James got the start and picked up the win to improve to 6-1 on the year. The senior right-hander went 6.1 innings and allowed just five hits. He walked five and struck out three in the process, while giving up three earned runs.
The Heidelberg hitters registered 17 hits in the victory. Leading the way was Keen with a 4-for-5 outing. Keen scored four times and knocked in two runs. Buelow was a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple, a run scored and a RBI. Lizcano also tallied three hits, including a home run. He scored twice and knocked in two runs. Finishing with five RBI was Monroe, along with two hits, which included a home run and a double.