Heidelberg opens OAC tournament with rain-soaked loss to ONU

BEREA — Two rain delays and Ohio Northern’s bats proved too challenging Thursday for Heidelberg in a 9-5 loss in the opening round of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament.

Weather permitting, the second-seeded Student Princes will play No. 1 seed Baldwin Wallace in an elimination game today.

Fourth-seeded Otterbein upset BW 2-1 in the opener.

Ohio Northern and Otterbein start today’s action at 9:30 a.m. Heidelberg and BW will follow. Today’s final game pits the loser of the day’s first game against the winner of the second.

Heidelberg and ONU were locked in tight battle for most of their game.

Caleb Thomas put the Polar Bears up 1-0 in the top of the fourth by doubling and later scoring on a passed ball.

Heidelberg’s Parker Fronk tied the game with a solo homer — his fourth of the year — to left center leading off the bottom of the fifth

ONU countered with Matthew Burkett’s two-run homer in the sixth, then added two more runs in the seventh before the day’s first rain delay.

The Polar Bears then sprinkled in another four runs around a second rain delay in the eighth to extend their lead to 9-1.

Heidelberg’s offense finally got going in the bottom of the eighth, plating four runs.

Pinch hitter Jake Davis singled before Kane Bateman and Kyle Jenkins drew walks. James Fisher relieved Blake Lester, then plunked Matt Psychas to force in a run.

Marc Ochoa smoked a single off the glove of the shortstop which allowed two runs to score. After Fronk lined to left, Tyler Smith drove in Psychas with a single to center. Following the third pitching change of the inning, Josh Mohr got out of the jam with a 4-6-3 double play.

In the ninth, Mike Warden got to third, but Heidelberg was unable to rally back.

Heidelberg starter Alex Sir Louis (8-2) went 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits. Brady Knizner did not allow a run in 2/3 innings. Mason Metz gave up four runs without recording an out before Cayden Rollins threw two shutout innings.