Marietta, Ohio – May 18, 2011 – The senior duo of Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland) and Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer) paved the way for no. 10 ranked Heidelberg University in a 12-5 win over Penn State Altoona at the 2011 NCAA Mideast Regional. Marietta College is the host institution of the seven-team regional played at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta, Ohio. Heidelberg, the second seed of the regional, improved to 34-11 with the win, while the Lions, seeded seventh, fell to 28-12.
Heidelberg scored a run in each of the first five innings to build a 12-3 advantage and send the team on to face sixth-seeded Case Western Reserve University tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Prior to Heidelberg’s game, Case Western Reserve topped Adrian College 5-4 with a grand slam in its last at bat. Tomorrow’s meeting will mark the fourth time Heidelberg and the Spartans have squared off this season. The weekend of March 26 Heidelberg swept a three-game series at Peaceful Valley.
In the win, James got the start and threw his first collegiate complete game. He allowed 13 hits, while striking out eight and walking just three. He gave up five earned runs. James improves his staff-leading record on the year to 7-1.
Heidelberg’s hitters were solid supporters for James. In the end the Berg recorded16 hits led by Keen’s 4-for-4 outing. He was a triple away from hitting for the cycle and knocked in four runs in the process. He added three runs scored and a walk. Keen is coming on strong in the postseason for the Berg and last week he earned a spot on the Ohio Athletic Conference All-Tournament Team. In his last five outings Keen has tallied 15 hits, while knocking in 10 runs and scoring nine times.
Elvin Williams Jr. (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) backed Keen going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a double. Also finishing with three hits was Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville). Rounding out those with multiple hits was Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) with two. Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start) knocked in four runs, while Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville) had two RBI.
A back and forth battle took place early in the contest. The Lions opened up with a RBI single from Grady Luzier, but the Berg responded. Williams started things with a double to right center field and Keen kept things on the right side of the field. Keen connected for a two-run shot to give the Berg a 2-1 advantage after one.
Scoring continued into the second on both sides. The lead changed hands with two-runs in top of the inning by the visitors. Penn State Altoona had four consecutive hits to plate two runs to go ahead 3-2. In the bottom half of the inning Monroe got things going with a leadoff double to the left field corner. Monroe would eventually score on a Buelow sacrifice fly to left field and tied the ballgame yet again. Heidelberg regained the lead, 4-3, when Lizcano drew a two-out bases loaded walk.
Buelow extended Heidelberg’s advantage to two runs, 5-3, with a sacrifice fly to plate Lash in the third.
After holding the Lions scoreless for the second inning in a row, the Berg rallied for four runs, off of five hits, in the bottom of the fourth. Three of its runs came with two outs. Getting the scoring started was Lizcano with a RBI ground out. With two outs on the board, Lash, Monroe and Derek Andrzejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview) teamed up for three consecutive RBI at bats. Highlighting the group was a RBI triple by Monroe to left center.
The fifth marked another inning and another scoring outing for the Berg. After back-to-back singles by Jordan Martin (Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty) and Williams to start things off, Keen cleared the bases with a double down the right field line. Lizcano followed with a RBI single up the middle to make it three runs in the inning for the Berg and make it a 12-3 lead.
The Lions were able to score two runs in the ninth inning to push the final score to 12-5. Luzier and Cord Heine had back-to-back RBI at bats to plate the runs.