St. Norbert closes out ’Berg, Palm

WHITEWATER, Wisconsin – The 2014 Heidelberg University baseball season has come to an end.

St. Norbert College knocked off the Student Princes 9-5 Thursday in an NCAA Midwest Regional tournament elimination game.

The loss also closed the coaching career of Matt Palm. He compiled a 459-209-2 record in his 15 years at the helm of the program, claiming five OAC regular season titles, four OAC tournament titles and six regional tournament berths.

In 2010, Palm guided the Student Princes to a regional title and a fourth place finish at the NCAA Division III Championship in Appleton, Wisconsin. Palm, who announced his decision to step down prior to the 2014 season, will retain his duties as athletic director at Heidelberg.

Associate head coach Chad Fitzgerald will assume the head coaching duties.

It took a bit to halt Heidelberg and Palm.

St. Norbert (23-15) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning on Travis Mason’s two-run home run down the right field line.

Heidelberg (31-12) responded with a methodical four-run second inning.

The first four Student Princes – T.J. Harkness, Derek Hug, Adam Hershberger and Andrew Zenczak – all singled. Zenczak’s single drove in Harkness for the first run. Joe Staab and Arneal Squibb followed with a pair of sacrifice flies to give the Student Princes their first lead of the tournament. Austin Fleming closed out the scoring with an RBI single to right center.

Undaunted, the Green Knights scored four times in the second, knocking ‘Berg starter Derek Hendrixson (6-3) from the game. In his first collegiate start, Hendrixson threw 1 2/3 innings, issuing three walks and four hits. The freshman gave up six runs, five earned.

Adam Manner, who took over for Hendrixson in the second, held the Knights scoreless until they plated three in the eighth. Senior Zach O’Driscoll spelled Manner to close out the inning.

The Students Princes struggled against St. Norbert reliever Jake McMahon (4-3), who threw 6 2/3 innings of impressive relief. Heidelberg finally cracked McMahon in the ninth, scoring a run on Eric Monroe’s RBI single.

Seven Student Princes had multi-hit afternoons as Heidelberg rapped 15 singles, but ‘Berg couldn’t find a way to prolong its season or Palm’s tenure.