BASE: Seniors contribute as Berg clinches berth

(Photos by Mason Hainey)
(Photos by Mason Hainey)

TIFFIN -- On Senior Day, the Class of 2019 helped the Heidelberg University baseball team punch its ticket to the four-time Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament by sweeping Wilmington by twin 9-4 scores. Furthermore, the Student Princes will head into the final weekend of conference play locked in a tie for first place with Baldwin Wallace. All of Head Coach Chad Fitzgerald's healthy seniors saw action on the day -- including reserve catcher Zach Hunter who picked up his first collegiate hit and RBI.

Heidelberg moved to 25-11 overall, 12-4 in the OAC. Wilmington slipped to 7-27 and 3-13.

Six Student Princes had multi-hit afternoons, including senior Kane Bateman who went 7-for-10 with five runs scored. Kyle Jenkins had five hits while Zach Doran and Matt Psychas each had four hits.

GAME ONE: Heidelberg 9 Wilmington 4

Starter Trevor Adkins worked out of a jam in the top of the first, stranding a pair. In the bottom of the inning, the Tricolor got to work. Bateman and Jenkins quickly singled off of WC starter Jared Ferenchak -- who stymied the Student Princes over six innings in a start last season. After Psychas was plunked on the foot, Bateman scored on a sacrifice fly by Marc Ochoa. With two outs, Eric Devore ripped a two-run single up the middle.

Ahead 3-0, HU pushed two more runs across in the second. Bateman, who led off with a double, scored easily on a double by Jenkins. Jenkins advanced on a fly out, then scored on another Ochoa sac fly.

Center fielder Mike Warden made a diving catch on a sinking liner in the third -- and nearly doubled off a runner on second. The Quakers used this opportunity to plate two and trailed 5-2. They would add another in the fourth.

Heidelberg responded in the bottom of the fourth. Bateman and Jenkins singled and moved to third on a fly out. Bateman scored on a balk, Jenkins scored on a sacrifice fly.

After the visitors added a run in the fifth, the hosts followed suit in the bottom of the frame. Tyler Smith and Bateman were aboard with infield singles. On a double steal, indifferent middle infielders allowed the throw from the catcher to bounce into center. Smith scored on the miscue.

Adkins (4-4) worked five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. He struck out four and walked three.

Mason Metz earned the save by working the final four innings of the contest. He fanned one and allowed two hits.

Doran capped the scoring in the eighth with a single through the left side that scored Psychas.

GAME TWO: Heidelberg 9 Wilmington 4

Starter Alex Sir Louis ran into trouble in the first, but was able to limit the damage. A walk and two singles to start put Wilmington on the board. Poised for a big inning, the Quaker momentum was halted as Sir Louis picked off Nick Silvis, then induced a 6-4-3 double play.

The Student Princes battled right back. Bateman set the table with a single before advancing on a wild pitch. A Psychas base hit and an Ochoa walk loaded the bases. One run scored on what could have been a double play ball. A bad throw to first allowed two runs to score.
Up 2-1, The Berg plated three in the second. Jenkins hit a sacrifice fly before Psychas delivered a two-run double to the track in left.

After Wilmington scored in the top of the third, Jake Davis launched his fourth home run of the year -- a solo blast to left.

Ahead 6-2, Heidelberg tacked on its final three runs in the sixth. Jenkins and Psychas, who had singled, scored on an RBI double to the gap in left center by Ochoa. With two down, Hunter pinch hit and ripped a double into the corner in left, plating Ochoa.

Sir Louis (7-1) went six full innings and limited the Quakers to two runs on seven hits. He struck out two and walked one. Relievers Tristan Phillips and Joey Wenning each allowed single runs out of the bullpen.

Inside the Box Score:

Ochoa finished with five runs batted in on the day -- three sacrifice flies and the two-run double.

Heidelberg honored seniors Brady Ansara, Kane Bateman, Brock Conner, Zach Hunter, Parker Fronk, Alex Sir Louis, Joey Wenning, Matt Pscyhas and Kyle Psychas.

The Student Princes will play in the conference tournament for the first time since the 2015 season.  

Playoff positioning:

BW and Heidelberg are even atop the OAC standings. With one doubleheader remaining, both are 12-4 and have clinched a spot in the tournament. The race for the final two spots will come down to four teams who have a realistic shot at advancing.

If BW and Heidelberg tie for first (BW hosts JCU, HU visits Capital), they would earn co-champion honors and would utilize the tie-breaking structure to determine the host of the four-team tournament. Because they split their doubleheader -- and because the Fort Myers airport competition proved inconclusive -- seeing how teams sit in the standings at season's end would be necessary.

Up Next:

Heidelberg is scheduled to visit Oberlin on Tuesday for a non-conference single game. OAC play is slated to wrap up with a twinbill at Capital on Friday.