PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – After a rough start to their spring trip to Florida, a pair of wins was just what the doctor ordered on Friday as the Heidelberg University baseball team swept Salem State in a doubleheader. The Student Princes used a late push to top the Vikings in game one while a ninth-inning run and some outstanding relief pitching by Anthony Hajdu led the Berg to a game two victory.
Heidelberg improved to 5-8 with the pair of wins while Salem State fell to 4-6.
Salem State scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first inning in game one, but Heidelberg answered right back, scoring two of their own to knot up the score after one inning.
The Student Princes kept the bats going in the second inning when T.J. Harkness and Kyle Slovick each drove in a run, giving the Berg a 4-2 lead.
HU tacked on one more to that lead in the bottom of the third inning when Parker Fronk led off the inning by driving a ball over the wall in the right field corner, the first home run of his career.
The Vikings would then go on to score three unanswered runs by scoring one in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to tie the game at five.
Heidelberg would regain the lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth, but Salem State answered with one in the top of the seventh to tie the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Student Princes would finally get some separation, as they scored four runs on three hits to take a commanding 10-7 edge.
The Berg tacked on one more in the eighth while Cory Jacobs shut down the Vikings in the final two innings to earn the save as HU went on to win 11-7.
Alex Sir Louis (1-2) picked up the win in relief while Adam Manner was credited with no decision after throwing six innings and giving up six runs with just three earned.
Harkness led the Berg with four hits in the game while Slovick went 3-for-3 with three runs driven in after entering the game for an injured Evan Long.
Game two opened up with a lot of scoring, as after HU scored one unearned run in the top of the first, SSU responded with a pair in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.
Heidelberg's bats then erupted for six runs in the top of the second on five hits, including a bases-clearing three-run double by Adam Hershberger as the Berg took a 7-2 lead.
Salem State would slowly crawl their way back, as they took advantage of free bases and scored a pair in the third and three in the fifth as the game was all of a sudden tied at seven.
After Heidelberg had been held scoreless for six consecutive innings, they finally broke through in the top of the ninth when a two out RBI single by Harkness broke the tie to give the Student Princes an 8-7 lead.
Hajdu, who entered in the sixth inning on the mound for Heidelberg, was outstanding in his first career appearance. The sophomore went four scoreless innings while giving up just one hit and no walks while striking out four to shut down Salem State at the end of the game. Hajdu (1-0) earned the win and finished it in style, striking out the final batter of the game looking to put an exclamation mark on the sweep.
Once again, Harkness led HU with four more hits in the win, making a total of eight for the senior on the day. Clayton Wielinski also had three hits in the game while Hershberger drove in a team-high four runs.
Head coach Chad Fitzgerald on the importance of these two wins: "Those were two really big wins for us and we needed them. I thought we played well as a team and had a lot of different, new contributors, which I think is awesome and hopefully gets us going in the right direction from here on out."
Fitzgerald of the production of Harkness: "He was unbelievable. Taking BP today, you could tell he felt really, really well. I don't know if the off day did him some good or not, but he worked counts, got pitches he liked, and he hit them hard. That's the kind of production we need in the front of our lineup."
Fitzgerald on Hajdu's first varsity appearance: "He's thrown in two non-varsity games down here and has been pretty good in one-inning stints and the plan was to throw only one inning, but you know how plans go sometimes. He's got a really good breaking ball combo and has some zip on his fastball that you might not expect. He did a good job, threw a lot of strikes, and kept them off balance."
The Student Princes will wrap up their Florida trip on Saturday when they take on No. 19 Wooster at 10:00 a.m. in Port Charlotte.