ALLIANCE, Ohio – The 6th-ranked Heidelberg University baseball team split an OAC doubleheader against Mount Union on Monday. In the opener, the Student Princes opened things up offensively with three home runs, while a big inning, much like the loss to Ohio Wesleyan last week, sunk the Berg in game two. Heidelberg tallied 31 hits in the pair of games, winning 11-3 in the opener before falling 15-7 in game two.
In game one the Student Princes took an early lead in the second inning thanks to a solo home run off the bat of Eric Monroe, his first of the year.
Adding on to that in the third inning, HU tacked on three more runs with a 2RBI double by T.J. Harknessand an RBI single by Derek Hug.
In the bottom of the frame, Heidelberg starting pitcher Adam Manner ran into a little bit of trouble, allowing a pair of runs on a two-out double. He ended up with a quality start, however, allowing just one more run during his time on the hill. Manner (3-0) went six innings while giving up nine hits and three runs, striking out two to pick up the win.
Holding on to a 4-2 edge, the Student Princes padded their lead with an RBI double by Adam Hershberger in the fourth inning.
After Mount Union responded with one of their own in the bottom of the fourth, Heidelberg answered right back with a pair in the fifth. A sacrifice fly by Hug and an RBI double by Monroe extended the HU lead to 7-3.
Not stopping there, Steven Morse led off the top of the 6th with a solo home run of his own to add one more run to the lead for the Berg.
The very next inning, the trend of leadoff home runs continued when Harkness drove a homer to left center, pushing the lead to 9-3.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, HU reliever Jordan Watson ran into some trouble, allowing the first three batters to reach base on singles, giving way to Derek Hendrixson out of the bullpen. Hendrixson did everything that was asked of him, getting a fly out and two strike outs to work out of the jam.
Carrying that momentum into the ninth inning, the Student Princes padded their lead with a couple runs. Monroe drove in his third run of the game with an RBI single to center while Morse drove him in later in the inning to make the score 11-3.
Hendrixson continued his dominance on the mound to wrap up the game, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the win for Heidelberg.
Game two proved to be another one where the offenses shined, but this time it was the host Purple Raiders that broke through first.
After falling in a 2-1 hole going to the fourth inning, the Berg responded with an RBI single by Adam Hershberger to knot things at two headed to the bottom of the frame.
That was where Mount Union found their groove offensively, going for eight runs in the inning to chase HU starter Kyle Fluharty from the game.
Having to battle from behind late in the game, Heidelberg scored a pair in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to six runs, but a five-run seventh by the Purple Raiders created an 11-run hole.
Not giving up, the Student Princes struck in the eighth inning when Hug crushed a 3-run homer with two outs. That would be too little, too late for HU, however, as they fell 15-7 to split the doubleheader and drop their first OAC contest of the year.
Heidelberg moved to 17-3 on the season including a 5-1 mark in conference play with the split while Mount Union now stands at 13-8 (2-4 OAC).
Hug, Harkness, and Morse each tallied five hits in the pair of games to lead the Berg while Hug led all hitters with five RBI in the split. As a team, the Student Princes hit four home runs in the pair of games and batted 0.397 on the afternoon.
EXTRA BASES: Heidelberg racked up 11 extra-base hits on the day, led by Christian Verde, who hit two doubles.
Including his two innings of work in game one, Hendrixson now has a 0.86 ERA on the year with 34 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.
Heidelberg is scheduled to take to the diamond next on Tuesday, April 7th against Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. That non-conference game is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.