The situation was simple: Win both and you're in control.
The result was a logjam.
Heidelberg dropped a 19-13 slugfest in Saturday's opener before edging Otterbein 8-7 in the second game, putting the Student Princes and Marietta into a tie atop the Ohio Athletic Conference standings at 13-3. Marietta swept John Carroll 7-6 and 6-4.
Both have two OAC road games remaining this Saturday - Heidelberg at Ohio Northern, Marietta at Wilmington. At stake is who hosts the OAC tournament.
Heidelberg (29-7) entered Saturday's games with a chance to stay up a game in the standings, but gave up an 11-run second inning in the first game - eight of those runs were unearned - and couldn't recover.
Brock Frentzel belted a three-run homer for Otterbein, Jake Simmerman doubled in three runs and Mark Walton doubled in two more as part of the big inning.
Frentzel added a solo homer and finished with three runs, Simmerman tacked on another double, two more singles, another RBI and ended with two runs and Walton lined two singles and scored twice to help Adam Collier (3-3) get the win.
Chris Thomas (6-2) took the loss, allowing three earned runs and 10 runs total over 1 2/3 innings.
Derek Hug smacked a solo homer, singled twice and added another run and two more RBIs for the Student Princes. Austin Fleming doubled in a run, Derek Hendrixson had two RBIs and a run off two singles, Alex Grove had three singles and a run, Eric Monroe singled twice, scored and drove in a run, Trevor Oldham scored twice and chased in three runs with two singles, and T.J. Harkness scored twice, singled and drove in a run.
The second game started and remained much closer.
Heidelberg plated three runs in the second to tie the game and scored twice in the third for a 5-3 lead. Both teams scored twice in the fifth and Otterbein (22-13, 7-9) pushed two across in the top of the seventh to knot the game at 7.
But Grove bounced into a bases-loaded fielder's choice in the bottom of the frame to drive in Adam Hershberger with the go-ahead run, and Heidelberg pitched a shutout from there to get Hendrixson (6-1) the win in relief.
Monroe hit a two-run homer in the fifth for Heidelberg and scored two other times.
Hug scored twice and hit three singles, Hershberger added two singles and two RBIs, Fleming scored twice and singled and Joe Staab knocked in a pair and singled.
Justin Lewis (1-1) took the loss.
Simmerman, Zach San Roman, Peyton Ross and Frentzel all doubled. Simmerman also singled and scored, San Roman had two runs, two singles and an RBI, Ross scored and Frentzel had a single and RBI.
No postseason for 'Berg softball
WESTERVILLE - Otterbein erased Heidelberg's postseason chances by clipping the Student Princes 9-8 with a walkoff homer in the bottom of the seventh Saturday in the first game an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader.
Heidelberg battled back to take the second game 5-2, but had to win both to have a chance at the OAC Tournament.
The Student Princes scored twice in the top of the fifth in the first game and added a run in the sixth for a 5-2 lead, but Otterbein countered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 6-5.
Heidelberg countered with three runs in the top of the seventh, but a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning gave the win to Otterbein.
Reliever Erin Chapman (11-6) suffered the loss, allowing one earned run in 1/3 of an inning.
New Riegel graduate Jami Wagner went 3 for 4 with a double, run and RBI.
Mikaela Mitsch belted two homers and drove in four runs, Kyleah Brey hit a solo homer and scored another run and Randi Kelsey doubled.
In the second game, Heidelberg (23-13, 9-9 OAC) scored four times in the top of the fourth for a 5-0 lead and gave up two in the bottom of the seventh to get Paige Atterholt (12-5) the complete-game win. Only one run by the Cardinals (15-20, 5-13) was earned.
Kayla Zachrich tripled, singled, scored and drove in a run, Lisa Simmons had an RBI, triple and single, Taylor Hicks tripled and scored, and Wagner and Brey each doubled and scored.
Nichols tossing goose eggs
HILLSDALE - Tyler Nichols extended his unscored upon streak as Tiffin split a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday with Hillsdale.
The Dragons won the opener 5-0 to help Nichols move to 3-1. He hasn't allowed a run in 15 1/3 consecutive innings, and has gone 37 1/3 innings without surrendering an earned run.
Hillsdale won the second game 4-2.
In the win, Kyle Lento doubled in Isaac Perry and scored on Elijah Sanabria's single to put TU up 2-0 in the second inning.
The Dragons added single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh.
Perry ended with three hits and added another run, and Lento tacked on another run and a single.
Nichols allowed only three hits
Tiffin opened the second game with two runs in the top of the first, but the Chargers (15-29, 13-15 GLIAC) countered with a run in the bottom of the frame and three more in the third to pull away.
Hopewell-Loudon graduate Logan Sendelbach (2-8) suffered the loss for TU (13-29, 12-13).
Garrett Vernau and Nick Calandra both singled and scored for TU, and Cole McCurry singled in a run.
Ashland sweeps TU
Ashland blanked Tiffin twice Saturday in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference softball, beating the Dragons 2-0 and 7-0.
Payton Denman, Kristen Robinson and losing pitcher Taylor Spang each singled for TU in the first game. Spang allowed just one earned run.
The Eagles (25-16) plated three runs in the second inning of second game to take control. All three were earned, and losing pitcher Madison Yanek lasted just 1 1/3 innings.
Denman singled twice for the Dragons (23-22), and Kristen Prokopakis, Jena King and Spang each singled.