A balanced one-through-nine approach on offense, coupled with a strong pitching staff has lifted the Heidelberg University baseball team back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. With an at-large bid, the Student Princes will compete in this weekend's four-team regional with Denison University, La Roche University, and host Adrian College.
Head Coach Chad Fitzgerald relied on a number of upperclassmen in his everyday lineup. In the outfield, seniors Matt Psychas and Kane Bateman have been stalwarts in left and right and both were named to the All-OAC Tournament team. After Keaton Mark's promising sophomore season was halted by injury, Mike Warden and Robert Hunt have split time in center.
The infielders have performed consistently throughout the course of the season. Three of the everyday infielders are juniors -- third baseman Kyle Jenkins, shortstop Zach Doran and second baseman Tyler Smith. The lone senior is first baseman Parker Fronk, who also landed on the All-OAC Tournament team.
Behind the plate, Marc Ochoa has thrown out 45.5% of would-be base-stealers -- tops in the OAC among full-time catchers.
Designated hitters Jake Davis and Eric Devore have split time.
Alex Sir Louis and Trevor Adkins anchor Fitzgerald's rotation. The starting rotation has also included Tristan Phillips (an All-tournament team selection), Mac Spears and Alec Zoeller. Out of the bullpen, Mason Metz and Brady Knizner have been important pieces of the staff. In his senior season, closer Joey Wenning has led the team in appearances and led the OAC in saves.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The 2019 season marks Heidelberg's 8th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Heidelberg holds a 14-12 record (.538), dating back to their first trip in 2004.
The winner of this four-team tournament will advance to face the winner of the Wooster Regional -- Wooster, Case Western Reserve, Otterbein and Rochester -- in next weekend's best-of-three super-regional.
Ticket prices are $8 per game for general admission and $7 per game for senior citizens and students with ID. Re-entry permitted by purchasing another ticket.
Per NCAA rules, no complimentary passes (including school ID) are accepted.
The front gates will open 1 hour and 30 minutes prior to the start of the first game each day.
WHEN AND WHERE
Adrian's Nicolay Field, an all-turf surface, opened in 2008. The field played host to the Mideast Regional tournament in 2009 and 2018.
Weather permitting, the schedule is as follows:
Friday, May 17 - Day One
Game 1 - #4 La Roche vs. #1 Denison, 1 p.m.
Game 2 - #3 Adrian vs. #2 Heidelberg, 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 - Day Two
Game 3 - Losers of Game #1 and Game #2, Noon
Game 4 - Winners of Game #1 and Game #2, 3 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner Game #3 vs. Loser Game #4, 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 - Day Three
Game 6 - Winners of Game #3 and Game #5, 12 p.m.
Game 7 - If necessary, same teams as Game #6, 3 p.m.
FOLLOW AT HOME
LiveStats and Live Video will be provided by the Adrian College Athletic Communications office and Adrian College Television (ACTV). Links will be published at BergAthletics.com
Postgame press conferences will be posted to YouTube throughout the duration of the regional tournament.
FITZ FOR A KING
- Head coach Chad Fitzgerald is in his fifth year at the helm after being an assistant for seven years
- Career record stands at 130-79 (.622)
- 11 HU players were named to the All-OAC teams, announced on Monday
- Alex Sir Louis, Marc Ochoa, Kyle Jenkins, Tyler Smith and Matt Psychas were first teamers
- Kane Bateman was a second team honoree
- Tristan Phillips, Trevor Adkins, Mason Metz, Joey Wenning and Parker Fronk were honorable mentions
SKIP TO SIR LOU
- Senior Alex Sir Louis is 25th in the nation with eight wins
- Sir Louis set a school record with a 1.10 ERA last year
KNOW WHEN TO SAY WENNING
- Senior Joey Wenning, whose HU career began as an infielder, led the OAC with eight saves
- The eight saves is 11th in the nation
- With 14 career saves, he is third all-time
ESPN8: THE OCHOA
- Junior catcher Marc Ochoa has thrown out 20 runners on the season, tops in the OAC
- He ranks 13th in the nation with seven sac flies
- Senior left fielder Matt Psychas sits 10th in the nation with 118 total bases
- With 53 runs scored, Psychas led the OAC and is 18th in the country
- Senior right fielder Kane Bateman is fourth in the country with 74 hits
- Bateman moved to the top of the order in the fourth game of the season
- Heidelberg has turned 48 double plays
- The 48 twin-killers puts Heidelberg second in the nation
- After only managing four hits in the season opener, the Student Princes have pounded out 523 hits (527 total)
- HU ranks fourth in the nation in hits -- with Bateman (4th), Kyle Jenkins and Matt Psychas (T12th) among the individual leaders
AGAINST THE OPPONENTS
- All-time vs. Denison: HU leads series, 19-10 ... The Big Red has won six of the last 10 ... Denison and Heidelberg have never met in postseason
- All-time vs. Adrian: HU leads series, 23-16 ... The Berg has won six of the last 10 ... Adrian holds a 4-2 edge in postseason games
- All-time vs. La Roche: HU leads series, 6-2 ... In their two previous postseason battles, each side has won once