May 28, 2010

By Bryan Rose
Special to NCAA.com

APPLETON, Wis. - A matchup of the top offensive teams in the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships field turned into a pitchers' duel Friday.

Johns Hopkins (42-6) and Heidelberg (41-6) were the only two 40-win teams in the tournament, and each was in the top 10 in runs scored entering the game. But pitching quickly became the story of the game, as Heidelberg survived 3-2.

Jason Lash's RBI single in the top of the ninth inning broke a 2-2 tie and gave Heidelberg the victory. Student Princes reliever Andy Lowe retired Johns Hopkins in order in the bottom half of the inning.

Heidelberg starter Ethan Holt threw 6 1/3 innings, scattering six hits and collecting one strikeout. He did not issue a walk.

Both teams had early opportunities but could not muster key hits in situations with runners in scoring position.

In the first inning, Heidelberg put runners on first and third without collecting a hit. But Johns Hopkins' Alex Eliopoulos pitched out of the jam.

In the third, Johns Hopkins had runners on second and third with one out but could not score. Heidelberg loaded the bases in the fourth but failed to score.

The teams combined to strand 20 runners, Heidelberg leaving 14 on the base paths.

With both teams struggling at the plate, the score was 0-0 going into the sixth. That's when Heidelberg broke through with two runs. Alex Monroe scored on a groundout to second base, and Ricardo Lizcano collected an RBI double as the Student Princes went up 2-0.

In the eighth, Johns Hopkins tied the game. Chris Huisman and Brian Youchak notched back-to-back RBI doubles.

Heidelberg will take on the winner of the Shenandoah-Illinois Wesleyan game at 8:45 p.m. Saturday. Johns Hopkins will face the loser of that game in an elimination contest at 2:15 p.m.