Ft. Myers, Fla. – Heidelberg University starter Chris Thomas (Canton/Perry) retired the first eight Thiel College batters he faced en route to a 7-2 win on Monday.
All seven Heidelberg runs were knocked in by the six through nine hitters in 14-year head coach Matt Palm’s lineup.
After a scoreless first, Heidelberg struck first blood in the second inning. Doug Miller (West Friendship, MD/Glenelg Country School) walked and moved to second on a balk. Arneal Squibb (Mishawaka, IN) followed with an RBI double, scoring Miller. In his first collegiate at-bat, Derek Hug (Bryan) knocked a two-run home run to right to put the Student Princes up 3-0.
Heidelberg (2-0) extended the lead in the fourth off of Thiel starter Matt Elko. Eric Monroe (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) opened the inning with a single. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Ben Blystone (Brownsburg, IN), which game Heidelberg a 4-0 lead.
Thomas did not allow a hit until Cody Trinch singled in the fifth. But Trinch’s time on base was short-lived, as he was picked off of first.
Thiel (2-1) plated a pair of runs in the sixth inning to cut the Heidelberg lead in half, 4-2. Nick Schiavonni walked and Dan Koller singled to start the inning. Schiavonni advanced to third on a flyout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Eric King. Eric Steininger doubled to score Koller. Thomas struck out Jarod Nanna to end the rally.
Thiel’s Riley Schwertz relieved Elko and worked a scoreless sixth inning before running into trouble in the seventh. Miller and Blystone reached on one-out basehits, followed by an RBI single from Squibb. After a strikeout, Zenczak delivered a two-out two-run double to give the Student Princes a 7-2 lead.
In the top of the eighth, Schiavonni ripped a double to left, but was thrown out at third trying to advance.
In the ninth, Adam Manner (Bellevue) came in for the ninth inning. After the first two reached, Manner induced a double play for the first two outs. A groundout to second baseman Joe Staab (Bellville/Clear Fork) sealed the game for Heidelberg.
"I think the story of the game is Chris Thomas," said Palm. "He challenged and was ahead in the count. If it were later in the season, we probably would've let him go back out for the ninth."
Thomas (1-0) picked up the win, as he scattered four hits and struck out four in eight innings.
Zenczak finished 2-2 with two RBI, a walk and a hit by pitch.
The Student Princes return to action on Tuesday. Their game against Dominican is slated for a 10 a.m. start.