PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – In his first start of the season, freshman Sam Ankrom showed some nerves on the mound, but on Monday he was completely locked in. The Thomas Worthington High School product was in total control from the first pitch, going seven scoreless innings as the Heidelberg University baseball team blanked Denison 5-0. The win pushed the Berg to 8-1 on the year, while the Big Red fell to 1-1.
Right off the bat, Ankrom was dealing, getting a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first to send the Student Princes to the plate, where they struck early. With one out, Derek Hug came to the plate with T.J. Harkness on first after his single to center. Hug crushed the 2-0 delivery by the Denison starter over the right-center field fence to give the Berg an early two-run lead. After Steven Morse was hit by a pitch and stole second, Alex Grove plated the third run of the inning with an RBI single to right.
That inning gave Ankrom (2-0) a three-run lead to work with, and that would prove to be more than enough, as the freshman kept the Big Red bats at bay through the remainder of his time on the hill. In the top of the 5th inning, Denison threatened with bases loaded and only one out, but Ankrom worked out of the jam, getting a strike out and a fly out to Hug in center to put an end to the scoring chance. He finished his outing going seven innings and allowing six hits and three walk while striking out eight.
The Student Princes put two more runs on the board, one in the second and one in the fourth, both off of sacrifice fly outs by Evan Long, giving a little cushion to the advantage as the game wore on.
Jordan Watson came on in relief for Ankrom in the eighth inning, closing out the victory with two strong innings on the mound. The sophomore righty gave up just two hits during his time on the hill, allowing no runs and no walks while striking out three Denison batters.
Four different Student Princes tallied a pair of hits on the day, led by Hug's two-run blast in the first. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base. Long also drove in a pair in the game off of his two sacrifice fly balls, notching one hit to go 1-for-3. Morse swiped a pair of bases in the win to lead the team, also going 2-for-3 at the plate.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Heidelberg stole five bases in the game, making their total 32 on the year compared to just 12 by their opponents in nine games thus far.
It was another spotless day defensively for the Berg, who is fielding at a .982 clip on the season.
Hug continued his tear at the plate to open the season with two more hits in the game, making his batting average .514 through nine games.
With Watson's two innings of scoreless relief, the Heidelberg bullpen currently sports a 2.00 ERA in their 27 innings.
The Student Princes will conclude their Florida trip tomorrow, March 17th, when they start off the day with the conclusion of the suspended game against New Paltz State from Saturday. They will resume the game at 9:00 a.m. in the bottom of the 8th with Heidelberg leading 8-6. After the conclusion of that contest, the Berg will take on Farmingdale State at 10:30 a.m. to wrap up their Spring Break schedule.