FORT MYERS, Fla. – A few tough calls and a momentum switch were the difference as the Heidelberg University baseball team lost their first game of the 2015 season. Johns Hopkins made the most of an opportunity in the 6th inning, scoring 5 while building that momentum with five more in the 7th to pull away. The Student Princes put up a fight by scoring four in the seventh, but it was too little, too late as their comeback efforts fell short.
Junior Steve Huber started his second game of the season and was strong in the beginning. He held the Blue Jays in check heading into the 6th inning, including working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. Huber (1-1) ended up taking the loss after running into trouble in the 6th inning.
Heidelberg (7-1) took the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third after a bases-loaded walk to Steven Morse. He battled for a long at-bat at the plate, seeing 12 pitches to plate the first run of the game.
Going into the 6th and holding a 1-0 lead, the Berg quickly came under pressure as Johns Hopkins (3-0) opened the inning with a double and a single. After a groundout to Huber and a hit batter, a second hit by pitch drove in the tying run with one out. The next batter flew out to right field, and a good throw by T.J. Harkness to the plate caught the Blue Jay runners, but throws back to third and first were late, as both runners were called safe in somewhat controversial fashion.
After those runners were called safe and Heidelberg head coach Chad Fitzgerald was ejected for arguing those calls, Johns Hopkins rallied to score four more runs, taking a 5-1 lead in the 6th, chasing Huber from the game.
Building on the momentum after the close calls in the 6th, the Blue Jays poured on five more in the 7th off of Berg reliever Ben Sniezek, though only one of those runs were earned.
Facing a 10-1 deficit, Heidelberg would not go quietly, as their at-bat in the bottom of the 7th was put to good use. An Evan Long lineout to center to open the inning was followed by a single by Harkness and a walk drawn by Derek Hug. After those runners advanced on a wild pitch, Steven Morse drove a double past the first baseman and down the right field line to score a pair. Later in the inning, Christian Verde drove a single to left to plate Morse while a fielder's choice by Adam Hershberger scored Eric Monroe to cap off the 4-run 7th.
That surge was not enough, however, as Heidelberg was unable to continue that rally in the 8th and 9th innings.
Senior Travis Gray came on to pitch a scoreless 9th for the Student Princes, sitting down the Blue Jays in order to quickly bring the Berg back to bat, but they were unable to take advantage of a leadoff error, going down in order after Alex Grove reached base.
For the game, Hug led Heidelberg with two hits, including one double. Morse drove in three runs to lead the Student Princes while Hug, Grove, and Hershberger each stole one base.
The Heidelberg baseball team will return to Port Charlotte, Florida, tomorrow for a game against Denison University with the first pitch scheduled for 10:00 a.m.