TIFFIN – Derek Hug was not going to led the Student Princes lose on their home field. The junior hit a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of an OAC Tournament game on Friday, lifting the Heidelberg University baseball team to a 8-6 win over Marietta. With the win, the Berg advanced to Saturday to play for an OAC Championship.
Heidelberg (31-10) took an early 1-0 lead after one inning after stringing together four hits in the first.
Adam Manner got the start on the mound for the Berg, but did not have his best stuff right away. The senior gave up a pair of unearned runs in the second as Marietta took the lead back from the Student Princes. That was the begin of a back-and-forth game.
In the bottom of the third inning, Heidelberg regained a one-run advantage after scoring a pair of runs on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Alex Grove.
Marietta (25-16) answered right back with a three-spot in the fourth inning, getting three hits while drawing three walks in the frame.
After failing to score in the bottom of the inning, the Berg was able to rally back in the fifth inning after Manner put up a 0 in the top of the frame. Heidelberg capitalized on a Marietta error to score a pair of unearned runs after Grove drove in one on a sacrifice fly.
With a 6-5 lead, Manner began to settle in and pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Marietta was able to tack on one to tie up the game in the seventh, however, so Manner left the game unable to get a decision. He finished his morning throwing seven innings while giving up eleven hits and four walks while striking out three on 115 pitches. He gave up six runs, but only three were earned.
Freshman Sam Ankrom came on in relief of Manner and was solid to start, throwing a 1-2-3 top of the eighth to bring the Berg to the plate.
After Marietta retired the first batter of the inning, Hug came to the plate, already 3-for-3 on the day. On a 1-1 count, Hug unloaded on a pitch from the Marietta reliever, sending it over the right field wall to give Heidelberg the 7-6 lead. The Student Princes did not stop there as they were able to tack on one insurance run later in the inning with an RBI double by Grove.
Marietta was able to get a pair of runners on with one out off of walks, but Ankrom was able to work out of the jam, getting a double play to end the game and send Heidelberg to Saturday. Ankrom earned the win to improve to 5-2 on the year after throwing two scoreless innings of relief without allowing a hit.
EXTRA BASES: Through two tournament games, both Hug and Christian Verde each have two home runs.
Head coach Chad Fitzgerald on the win: "It was a great team win. Everyone battled and stayed focused throughout. Several guys had big hits to go along with our solid pitching."
Marietta earned a right to face Heidelberg again after knocking off John Carroll in an elimination game later on Friday. Heidelberg will face off with Marietta at 10:00 a.m. and can clinch the OAC Title with a win in that game.
NOTE: The 10:00 a.m. start time on Saturday is different than the originally scheduled time of noon. The game time was pushed up due to the potential threat of storms later in the afternoon.