TIFFIN – The No. 12 Heidelberg University baseball team split a highly-anticipated doubleheader with Marietta College at Peaceful Valley on Saturday. The Pioneers won the first game, 4-1, and the Student Princes won the nightcap, 9-7.
The first game was dominated by the Marietta pitchers. Christian Herstine (5-1) and Jason Byers held the Student Princes to two hits and one unearned run. Herstine struck out six in seven innings and Byers struck out a pair in two innings.
Despite pitching well, Chris Thomas (5-1) lost his first decision of the year. The senior allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits in seven innings. The Pioneers scored a single run in the fourth through the seventh inning. Marietta designated hitter Ryan Annett touched up Thomas for a pair of doubles and a solo home run.
Heidelberg's lone run came in the fifth, without the aid of a basehit. Trevor Oldham walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Zenczak. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Oldham scored when Arneal Squibb reached on an error.
The Student Princes bounced back quickly in the second game. After a scoreless first inning, the Tricolor broke out for three two-out runs in the second. Alex Grove started with a double down the right field line. Following a pair of groundouts, Grove scored on a triple to right center by Eric Monroe. Zenczak beat out an infield single, which allowed Monroe to score. After Joe Staab singled up the middle, Arneal Squibb did the same, chasing home Zenczak.
Marietta's Mitch Geers blistered a two-run home run to left in the second, closing the gap to 3-2 in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the inning, Derek Hug singled to right and moved to third on a pair of groundouts. With two down, Adam Hershberger lined a single to left, plating Hug. Monroe followed with a double to left center, but Hershberger was thrown out trying to score.
In the fourth, the Student Princes scored three times to take a 7-2 lead. Zenczak, aboard with his second infield single of the game, scored on a double to right center by Staab. Squibb was hit by a pitch and stole second. With first base open, Marietta elected to intentionally walk Grove. T.J. Harkness ruined the Pioneer strategy by lacing a two-run single up the middle.
Marietta closed the gap to 7-4 with a pair of runs in the second. Starter Steve Huber departed after walking the bases loaded. Derek Hendrixson allowed a two-run single, but struck out Zach Bukiewicz to limit the damage.
The Student Princes regained a five-run advantage with single runs in the sixth and seventh. In the sixth, Marietta again elected to intentionally walk Grove, loading the bases for Harkness. And again, the sophomore from Fremont delivered. This time, a sacrifice fly drove in Squibb.
In the seventh, Monroe doubled and advanced to third on a bunt by Zenczak. Staab lifted a fly ball to center which allowed Monroe to score.
Geers hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth, but Hendrixson struck out Annett to end the game, picking up his fourth save of the year.
Huber (3-0) earned the victory. The sophomore allowed four runs in 5.2 innings, issuing two hits and fanning four.
"We've preached about the process ... not getting too high, not getting too low," said head coach Matt Palm. "We know Marietta is a good club, we know we are a good club. It was good to get back and not let the loss snowball on us."
With the split, Heidelberg (23-5, 8-2 OAC) remains in a first place tie with John Carroll University. The Student Princes host the Blue Streaks for a doubleheader on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.