NORTH MANCHESTER, Indiana -- In search of a doubleheader sweep, Heidelberg University center fielder Darrin Shirk belted a pair of home runs on Sunday. Shirk's heroics were not enough as the HU baseball team fell in the nightcap 4-3 after beating Manchester University in the opening game, 8-4.
For the day, Shirk was 4-for-8 with four runs scored, in addition to the homers.
Heidelberg moved to 8-5 and Manchester is now 2-7 on the season.
GAME ONE: Heidelberg 8 Manchester 4
After two scoreless innings by both teams, Heidelberg had success the second time through the order. A Joey Rydzewski single moved Kyle Slovick to third. Matt Psychas followed with a bouncer to short -- ruled a hit and a throwing error, two runs scored on the play. Later, Adam Hershberger sent a ball up the middle for an RBI single.
Starter Anthony Hajdu (4-0) faced the minimum through three innings, with the only baserunner being caught stealing after a walk. A bases-loaded single in the fourth by Tyler LaFollette brought in the first two Spartan runs of the day.
The Tricolor responded with a three-run sixth. Three straight singles loaded the bases for Joe Walton, who delivered an RBI infield single. Rydzewski plated another with a single to left center before Psychas capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right.
Manchester countered with two runs off of Hajdu in the bottom of the frame. Alex Sir Louis relieved Hajdu with two on and no outs, and escaped by allowing just one runner to score on a groundout.
With a 6-4 lead, HU would tack on single runs in the seventh and ninth.
Hajdu worked 5+ innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He issued an uncharacteristic five walks.
Sir Louis and Zach Doran combined for four innings of hitless relief.
GAME TWO: Manchester 4 Heidelberg 3
Trailing 1-0 after one, Heidelberg tied the game on a Marc Ochoa sacrifice fly in the second.
Shirk hit his first home run of the game in the fourth -- a solo shot, his second of the year.
Manchester quickly tied the game with a run off of HU started Cameron Deemer in the fourth. The Spartans would manufacture a run in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.
Heidelberg had baserunners aboard in the sixth, seventh and eighth, but weren't able to produce the equalizer until the ninth. Shirk led off the ninth with his second blast to center field, tying the game at 3.
In the bottom of the ninth, Manchester salvaged the split with a walk-off double off of Cory Jacobs (0-1).
Deemer through seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. He didn't allow a walk. Brady Ansara worked a scoreless eighth inning.
Rydzewski was 0-4 in the game, snapping his 12-game hitting streak.
Heidelberg will host Manchester on Tuesday at Peaceful Valley in what amounts to the rubber match of the three-game set, originally slated for 3/18-19 in Tiffin. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.