March 14, 2014

Thomas fans 11 as 'Berg rolls #19 Manchester

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Senior Chris Thomas recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts as the Heidelberg University baseball defeated No. 19 Manchester University in the first game of a three-game series.

Thomas scattered six hits in eight innings, with the only run allowed coming on a lead-off home run to begin the fourth inning.

"This is the second year in a row Chris has controlled a very good Manchester offense," said head coach Matt Palm. "He had great tempo and composure. It is what we have come to expect from him."

Thomas threw 8.1 innings on a frigid day against the Spartans a year ago.  He allowed just four hits in a 2-1 walk-off Heidelberg victory. He was removed in the ninth after a comebacker ricocheted off of his pitching hand.

Heidelberg (9-2) continued its early season success at the plate by banging out 13 hits.

Manchester (6-3) starter Sean Liedtky battled control issues in the first as the Student Princes scored a pair. To start the game, Joe Staab drew a walk and Arneal Squibb was hit by a pitch. They advanced 90 feet on a passed ball. On another wild pitch, Staab scored and Squibb scampered to third. Steven Morse drove in Squibb with a groundout to second.

The Tricolor tacked on a pair in the third inning. Derek Hug and Trevor Oldham had back-to-back RBI singles, which scored Alex Grove and Eric Monroe.

Grove had three hits for Heidelberg and was one of three to score two runs.

In the fourth, Staab hit a one-out single and stole second. He scored on a single by Squibb, which gave HU a 5-0 lead.

After the Trevor Kimm's solo blast in the fourth put the Spartans on the board, Heidelberg responded with its own firepower.

In the fifth, Monroe belted a two-run home run. It was the first longball for the varsity team this year.

The Student Princes closed out the scoring with a run in the sixth. Morse scored on a double by Derek Hug, the reigning OAC Hitter of the Week.

The day, though, belonged to Thomas. The right-hander from Canton struck out three different Spartans three times. He did not allow a walk.

Originally scheduled as a three-game set at Manchester, the series shifted to the turf at Grand Park because the Spartans home field remains soggy from extended winter weather.

Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.