Tiffin, Ohio – January 4, 2011 – The 2011 schedule for the nationally ranked Heidelberg University baseball team is coming together as the New Year has arrived. Heidelberg, ranked first in a preseason poll released by Collegiate Baseball Newspapers, will open the 2011 season at the annual Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. While south the Berg will play eight contests at the Snowbird Classic and will travel to Fort Myers to play two games (March 7 and 10). The team will conclude its schedule up north with 10 non-conference contests and nine double headers in the always tough Ohio Athletic Conference.
Action begins on March 6 with Mideast Region foe College of Mount St. Joseph followed by contests with fellow Mideast Region opponents Ohio Wesleyan University (March 8) and Bluffton University (March 9).
Also included on the schedule is Rhodes College (March 12), a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and a 2010 SCAC Tournament participant. On March 13, the Berg will face Montclair State University for the second year in a row down south along with Utica College of the Empire 8 Conference.
Heidelberg's schedule at the Snowbird Classic concludes with games against Carthage College (March 14) and SUNY Plattsburgh (March 15). Both Carthage and Plattsburgh have spent time in the national rankings and the Cardinals of Plattsburgh are coming off one its most successful seasons.
Its schedule in the north begins with a two-game series with Adrian College March 19 and 20. Adrian and Heidelberg last met in the Mideast Regional where the Berg came out on top in the bottom of the ninth. Also on the slate in March are non-conference outings with Wittenberg University (March 22), Ohio Wesleyan (March 23 and 31), Case Western Reserve University (March 26 and 27) and Denison University (March 30).
OAC action starts in April when the Berg travels to Muskingum University on the second. After another OAC road doubleheader at John Carroll University (April 5), the Berg faces Denison again before hosting its first conference game when Wilmington College comes to town April 9. After traveling to Ohio Northern University (April 13) Heidelberg will close out April playing host to Marietta College (April 16), Baldwin-Wallace College (April 19) and Capital University (April 30). Prior to its Capital outing, Heidelberg will travel to Otterbein University (April 22).
Heidelberg's final preparation for a league title will include a non-conference away game with fellow 2010 Mideast Regional participant the College of Wooster (May 4). And its league schedule will conclude with the University of Mount Union at home May 7.
Under the guidance of 12th-year head coach Matt Palm, Heidelberg is coming off a record setting 42-8 season in which the program claimed its fifth Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title (2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and fourth OAC Tournament trophy (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010). The Berg went on to win its first Mideast Regional crown and made an appearance at the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships.
The Berg returns seven position players including All-American, ABCA Mideast Region and OAC Jack Rafeld Player of the Year junior right fielder Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start). Also returning as All-Americans is senior third baseman Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic), senior short stop Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) and senior second baseman Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland).
Rounding out the list of returning position players is senior first baseman Derek Andrzejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview), as well as senior outfielders Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) and Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville). Junior Elvin Williams (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) is also back and splits time in the outfield and on the mound.
Leading the pitching staff is All-American, ABCA Mideast Region and OAC Kent Tekulve Pitcher of the Year senior closer Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll). Joining Lowe is four starters in senior right-handers Brian Koehl (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview) and Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer). Also back is junior right-hander Sylvester Nino (Willard, Ohio / Willard) and sophomore right-hander Ethan Holt (Galion, Ohio / West Holmes).