BSB: Berg walks away with win over Babson

BSB: Berg walks away with win over Babson
  • 16 free bases for Heidelberg (13 walks, 3 HBP)
  • Slovick and Psychas drive in three
  • Bullpen combines for four scoreless innings

PUNTA GORDA, Florida -- The Heidelberg University baseball team walked its way to a 12-3 win over Babson College on Saturday. The Student Princes drew 13 base on balls in the win, and improved to 2-0 on the young season.

Kyle Slovick and Matt Psychas each had two hits and three RBI to pace the 'Berg offense. Parker Fronk drove in two.

The 13 walks were the most in a game by Heidelberg since a 15-walk afternoon in a 15-0 win at Wilmington on Apr. 18, 2014.

After a 1-2-3 top of the first, a patient approach allowed the Heidelberg offense to manufacture a run. Joey Rydzewski drew a leadoff walk, stole second, then moved to third on a balk. Amateur statistician Parker Fronk drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center.

Babson responded in the top of the second with a run on three hits of starter Anthony Hajdu. Hajdu (1-0) avoided more damage by ending the inning with a bases-loaded strikeout.

The Student Princes chased Beavers starter Teddy Carey (0-1) in the bottom of the second -- maintaining their patience at the plate, but ramping up their aggression on the basepaths. Darrin Shirk walked, then went first-to-third on a line drive single to left by Rydzewski. Marc Ochoa drove in Shirk and sent Rydzewski to third with a single to left center. Up 3-1, HU would tack on three more without swinging the bat. With the bases full, Fronk walked, Psychas was hit in the leg and Slovick walked. Carey, who departed after the walk to Fronk, went 1.1 innings and allowed six runs on two hits and seven walks.

Heidelberg kept up the pressure in the third, scoring three more. Rydzewski's speed was the catalyst again, as the shortstop walked and moved to second on an Ochoa HBP. On a double steal, an errant throw allowed the senior to trot home. With two outs, back-to-back RBI singles by Psychas and Slovick drove in two more, giving HU a 9-1 lead.

"Babson's pitchers struggled to command the zone early, but with some timely swings, we were able to take advantage of what they gave us," said Heidelberg head coach Chad Fitzgerald.

After allowing a leadoff homer to start the fourth, Hajdu wriggled out of jam with excellent defense by Psychas in left. The Berg junior threw out a runner at the plate for the second out, then ended the inning by snaring a sinking liner down the line. Babson would add one more in the fifth off Hajdu, who went 5.0 IP and gave up three runs on seven hits. He fanned five.

"I don't think Tony had his best stuff today, but he battled and threw enough strikes to keep their hitters off balance," said Fitzgerald. "He did a good job letting his defense play behind him."

Heidelberg would extend the lead in the middle innings as back-to-back two-out walks and a Slovick single plated a run in the fifth and a two-out triple by Psychas drove in Ochoa in the seventh. The final Heidelberg run came in the eighth on a Chaz Bova RBI sacrifice foul out.

Out of the bullpen, Sam Ankrom, Eric Hooper, Brady Ansara and Joey Wenning each threw an inning of scoreless relief. Ankrom returned to the mound after missing the 2017 season to injury.

"We're really excited about our bullpen," said Fitzgerald. "We have a number of young guys who have a chance to be really good. Getting Sam back is going to a big help."

On Sunday, Heidelberg will travel to Auburndale, Fla., squaring off against No. 6 Concordia Chicago (2-1). The single game will begin at 1 p.m. at Lake Myrtle Park.