March 15, 2014

Oldham, 'Berg triple up on Manchester

WESTFIELD, Ind. – The Heidelberg University baseball belted nine triples on the day as the Student Princes won both halves of a doubleheader against No. 19 Manchester and swept the three-game series. Heidelberg won the first game 15-9 and the second game 11-9 in 10 innings.

Center fielder Trevor Oldham enjoyed a career day. The junior was 6-for-8 on the day with two doubles, three triples, six runs driven in and two stolen bases. He also drew three hit by pitches and scored five runs.

Oldham's three triples in the nightcap tied an OAC record for triples in a game, last set in 1976. In the contest, the Student Princes ripped five three-baggers, which also tied an OAC record.

"With our speed, we can put pressure on opposing teams," said head coach Matt Palm, whose team pounded 13 extra base hits and stole five bases.

Heidelberg (11-2) trailed early in both contests. Down 5-1 after two innings in the first game, the Student Princes scored three runs in the third and eight in the fourth to take command of the contest.

After an RBI infield single in the third by Eric Monroe, Oldham batted with two down and the bases loaded. A foul pop up was dropped by Manchester, giving Oldham another opportunity. He delivered, lacing a basehit to center, scoring Arneal Squibb and Monroe.

The Student Princes batted around in the fourth, as a trio of triples packed quite a punch. With one out, Derek Hug blasted a three-run triple to right, plating Squibb, Monroe and Alex Grove. The next batter, Steven Morse, tripled, chasing home Hug. Later, with two outs, Squibb smashed a two-run triple to center. Squibb's hit gave Heidelberg a 12-5 lead.

Manchester (6-5) inched closer with three runs in the fifth inning as starter Kyle Fluharty was lifted from the game. The sophomore from Willard struck out four in 4+ innings of work, but allowed eight runs.

Reliever Zach O'Driscoll, a senior, picked up his first win since his freshman year. The righthander missed almost all of 2012 and 2013 with arm injuries and rehabilitation.

Leading 13-8 in the eighth, Morse led off with his second triple of the game. He scored on Oldham's second double of the game. Oldham crossed the plate on a single by Squibb.

Adam Manner worked the final two innings for Heidelberg. He allowed one hit, one run and struck out a pair.

In the second game, the Spartans held a 5-1 lead after three innings.

The Student Princes tightened the gap in the fourth as Oldham plated two with a triple to right center.

The Spartans would plate three of their own in the frame, taking advantage of a pair of 'Berg errors.

Hug tripled in the fifth to score Austin Fleming from first, cutting the MU lead to 8-4.

Oldham's triple in the sixth sparked a three-run rally for Heidelberg. Monroe knocked in Oldham and was removed for pinch-runner Derek Hendrixson. He moved to third on a single by Joe Staab and scored on a sacrifice fly by Squibb. Staab scored on a single by Fleming, which closed the Manchester lead to one.

While The Berg mounted its comeback, relievers Nick Reiter and Ben Sniezek managed to keep the Spartans off the scoreboard. Hendrixson moved to the mound to start the seventh inning and worked the final four frames.

Heidelberg took the lead in the eighth as Hendrixson led off with a double to left. Staab sacrificed him to third. Squibb sent a grounder to second, but Hendrixson slid in ahead of the Spartans' throw to the plate. With the score tied at eight, Grove singled to left, pushing Squibb into scoring position. With two outs, Hug singled to center and scored Squibb for the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the ninth, Manchester started with a pair of singles. A sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly tied the game, but Hendrixson got a strikeout with the potential winning run on third.

In the 10th inning, Heidelberg scored twice in a fitting fashion: It started with a triple by Squibb. After a pitching change, Grove was hit by a pitch. With the infield in, freshman Evan Long scored on an RBI fielder's choice. Squibb beat the throw to the plate. Hug followed with an RBI double to center, which brought in Grove.

Hendrixson retired the Spartans in order in the 10th to move to 2-1 on the season.

On the day, Heidelberg's starting outfielders -- Hug, Oldham and Squibb – hit .555 with 17 RBI, 11 runs, three doubles and seven triples.

"Our offense was not going to be denied today," said Palm. "We answered every challenge."

Heidelberg is scheduled to host a pair of mid-week home games against non-conference foes. After an unusually harsh winter in Tiffin, the field at Peaceful Valley may not be ready in time. Adrian College visits on Tuesday and Ohio Wesleyan University is slated for Wednesday. Both game have 4 p.m. start times.

Any schedule alterations will be posted on the Heidelberg University Athletics homepage.