TIFFIN, Ohio—The Heidelberg University baseball team and Muskingum University will face off in an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader Friday at Peaceful Valley in Tiffin, Ohio for the early lead in the conference standings. Both teams enter the twinbill with 3-1 OAC records and are tied with Marietta College atop the league standings. The first game is slated for 1 p.m.
The Student Princes (14-9, 3-1 OAC) extended their winning streak to a season-high four games in the first game of Tuesday’s OAC doubleheader at Otterbein University, scoring five runs in the seventh inning for a 10-7 come-from-behind victory, but fell, 7-5, after the second game was called in the sixth inning due to darkness. Senior right hander Daniel Brannum (Jamestown/Greeneview) worked the sixth and seventh innings and earned the win to improve to 4-0, while freshman designated hitter Trevor Oldham (Akron/Archbishop Hoban) extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
The Berg has three hitters who rank in the OAC’s top-10 in batting average in Oldham (.429, 10 RBI, 0 HR, 18 R), senior left fielder Ross Pruitt (Elletsville, Ind./Edgewood) (.427, 21, 0, 19) and freshman first baseman Eric Monroe (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) (.389, 17, 2, 13), who are third, fourth and 10th, respectively in the league. Oldham also leads the circuit in on-base percentage (.563), while Pruitt is second in the league with 35 hits, tied for sixth in RBI and tied for eighth in runs scored. Monroe is also ninth in the conference with a .574 slugging percentage.
Senior shortstop Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo/Start) (.376, 28, 5, 21), this week’s OAC hitter of the week, leads the OAC in both home runs and slugging percentage, is third with 13 walks and sixth with a .481 OBP, and ranks in the top-10 in RBI (second), hits (fourth) and runs (sixth). Lizcano has 31 career home runs and needs one more to set the school record, formerly held by Aaron Fischer (1996-2000). Lizcano also needs two triples, 25 total bases, 35 runs, 41 RBI and 59 hits to break other school career marks.
Junior right hander Tyler Fruhwirth (Beavercreek) (3.86 ERA, 22 K, 37.1 IP) and sophomore righty Chris Thomas (Canton/Perry) (4.50, 18, 34.0) have guided the starting rotation through 23 games. Fruhwirth is 4-1 in six appearances (five starts) with two complete games and one shutout, and is second in the OAC in innings pitched and tied for ninth in strikeouts. Thomas is 2-2 in six appearances (five starts) and is third in the league in innings pitched.
In their last starts, both wins against Wilmington College, Fruhwirth scattered four hits and struck out three without walking a batter on his way to a seven-inning shutout, while Thomas allowed one run one eight hits and struck out three batters of his own in 7.0 innings.
The bullpen is anchored by junior righty Teddy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and Brannum, who are the two most used pitchers in the conference, with 15 and 12 starts, respectively. Lowe (5.73, 12, 22.0) is 3-2 with one save, while Brannum (3.75, 24, 24.0) is 4-0 with one save and is eighth in the circuit in strikeouts.
In 563 career games, 13th-year head coach Matt Palm is 395-168 (.702) and is looking for five more victories to become just the fifth coach in OAC history with 400 career wins, behind only the legendary Don Schaly of Marietta College (1,442), Bob Fisher of Baldwin-Wallace College (700), Dick Fishbaugh of Otterbein University (617), and Herb Strayer of Ohio Northern University (592).
Muskingum (9-10, 3-1 OAC) swept a doubleheader Tuesday from Wilmington and has won three of its last four games prior to Wednesday’s contest with Ohio Wesleyan University. Entering Wednesday’s contest with the Battling Bishops, Darren Garrett (.419, 12, 1, 31) is fifth in the OAC in batting average, second in the OAC in OBP (.494), tied for fifth in hits (31), eighth in slugging (.581) and tied for 10th in walks (10). The Fighting Muskie offense is also paced by Zach Siemon (.333, 17, 1, 11), Alex Vaccaro (.315, 17, 0, 17) and Nick Raymond (.303, 9, 1, 12), who is tied for fourth in the conference with 12 walks.
On the mound, Colten Maxwell (4.12, 17, 24.0) is 3-1 in five starts and Todd Spadaro (3.10, 19, 29.0) is 2-1 in five appearances (four starts) with one complete game and leads the rotation in ERA. Out of the bullpen, Logan Addison (2.93, 12, 30.2) is tied for eighth in the OAC in ERA and is 10th in innings pitched.
Next week, the Berg opens a four-game road trip Wednesday, April 11 at Ohio Northern University before facing rival Marietta on Saturday, April 14.