TIFFIN, Ohio—The No. 3 seed Heidelberg University baseball team will face No. 4 seed the University of Mount Union on Thursday at 4p.m. in the first day of the 2012 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta, Ohio. The tournament is a four-team, double elimination bracket that will run from Thursday through Saturday.
Live stats for all games will be available here and live video will be available here. All of the Berg’s games on Friday will be broadcast live on the ‘Berg Athletics Network. Saturday’s championship game(s) will also be broadcast live if the Student Princes advance.
Tickets for the OAC Tournament will go on sale beginning at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. OAC Tournament passes are $15. Single-game adult tickets can be purchased for $7, while single-game senior citizen tickets are $5 and single-game non-OAC student tickets are $2. Students from OAC institutions are admitted free of charge. Parking for the tournament is $3 daily.
The Berg (25-15, 11-7 OAC) is making its 10th straight and 13th overall appearance in the OAC tournament, and has won four titles: in 2003 and from 2008-10. The Student Princes have appeared in the championship game in each of the past four seasons and own a 23-17 all-time record in the tournament.
Heidelberg and Mount Union previously split a doubleheader on April 29, with the Purple Raiders taking the first game, 8-6, and the Student Princes capturing the nightcap, 5-4, in 10 innings. The Berg is riding an eight-game winning streak since that doubleheader. Heidelberg holds a 2-1 lead against Mount Union in the OAC tournament since the tournament moved to a four-team format in 1985.
The Heidelberg offense is paced by senior left fielder Ross Pruitt (Elletsville, Ind./Edgewood) and senior right fielder Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo/Start). Pruitt (.381, 36 RBI, 0 HR, 38 R) is fourth in the OAC in hitting and hits (56), tied for sixth in runs scored, and is seventh in RBI. He also has recorded two or more hits in 19 of 40 games this season, including seven outings with three or more. Lizcano (.338, 44, 8, 37) leads the circuit in home runs and slugging percentage (.662), is third in RBI and on-base percentage (.467), and is tied for eighth in runs. He leads the team with 10 multi-RBI games.
On the mound, freshman right-hander Ryan Minteer (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) and junior righty Tyler Fruhwirth (Beavercreek) lead the starting rotation. Minteer (2.89 ERA, 34 K, 56.0 IP) is 4-2 in 11 appearances (eight starts) with three complete games and is eighth in the OAC in ERA and tied for 10th in innings pitched. Fruhwirth (4.50, 34 K, 58.0) is 4-3 in 12 appearances (10 starts) with two complete games and is ninth in the league in innings pitched. Sophomore righty Chris Thomas (Canton/Perry) and senior right-hander Sly Nino (Willard) fill out the starting rotation. Thomas (5.50, 29, 54.0) is 4-4 in 12 appearances (eight starts) and Nino (5.96, 13, 25.2) is 3-0 in nine appearances (five starts).
Senior righty Daniel Brannum (Jamestown/Greeneview) and junior righty Teddy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) have combined for 45 appearances out of the bullpen. Brannum (4.00, 38, 45.0) is 7-0 in 22 appearances and is tied for fifth in the league in wins, and Lowe (4.83, 18, 31.2) is 3-2 in 23 appearances.
Mount Union (27-13, 13-5 OAC) has made 12 appearances in the tournament and is 8-22 all-time with one title (1970). The Purple Raiders are led by Connor Mathis (.450, 53, 1, 30), who leads the OAC in hitting, RBI and runs scored, and is fourth in both OBP (.466) and slugging (.586). Ricky Olasz (.345, 16, 0, 35) and Lee Grosscup (.331, 25, 1, 37) also aid the Mount Union attack. Grosscup is tied for eighth in runs.
The starting rotation is anchored by Matt Murzynski (2.93, 28, 61.1), who is 8-2 in 12 appearances (10 starts) with one complete game and leads the circuit in wins, is seventh in innings pitched, and 10th in ERA. Zach Carlino (3.00, 27, 51.0) is 6-1 in 11 appearances (eight starts) and Beau Smith (5.04, 33, 50.0) is 4-5 in 11 appearances (nine starts). Three Purple Raider relievers have made nine or more appearances out of the bullpen, led by Cory Douglass (4.70, 12, 15.1), who is 2-0 with two saves in 12 outings.
Defending OAC and NCAA champion No. 1 seed Marietta College (34-6, 16-2 OAC) and No. 4 seed John Carroll University (18-20, 9-9 OAC) kick off the tournament Thursday at 1 p.m. Marietta is making its 29th straight appearance and 40th overall and is 93-32-1 all-time in the tournament with a league-record 28 titles. JCU is making its fourth straight appearance and 10th overall, is 6-18 all-time and is seeking its first OAC crown. The OAC tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional.
Game 1: #4 John Carroll vs. #1 Marietta, 1 p.m.
Game 2: #3 Heidelberg vs. #2 Mount Union, 4 p.m.
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 11 p.m.
Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 2 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 5 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, 12 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): same teams as Game 6, 3 p.m.