Denison erupted for four runs in the eighth en route to a 9-5 victory over 12th-ranked Heidelberg University on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. The win snapped the Big Red's two-game skid.
After surrendering a three-run lead in the seventh, Denison answered in the top of the eighth with four runs. Senior Andrew Mahle led off the inning with a base hit to right. With one down, senior Evan Nicholson and junior Tim Duxbury logged back-to-back singles to load the bases. Stepping up to the dish in a key situation, senior Justin Vaske hit a two-run single to right center that gave DU a 7-5 lead. The base knock plated Nicholson and Mahle and moved Duxbury to third.
After a Heidelberg pitching change, sophomore Jeremy Tirado drove in Duxbury on a fielder's choice to the shortstop. With two on and two down, a single by Tyler Nicholson plated Tirado from second and put the Big Red on top 9-5. Senior reliever Chris Fries retired the side in order in the bottom of the eight, while junior Philip Seay secured the win in the ninth with a strikeout, fly out and ground out.
Heidelberg opened the scoring in the second frame with an RBI single by Joe Staab. The Big Red took the lead in the fourth when a throwing error by pitcher Bryan Peters allowed Tyler Nicholson and Danny Kraus to score. In the bottom of the fifth, an errant throw home by Peters allowed Vaske and Tirado to cross the plate. Denison made it a 5-1 game when a Krause sacrifice fly to right drove in Drew Rice.
Arneal Squibb opened the bottom of the fifth with a triple and eventually scored on a wild pitch. In the seventh, a two-out rally by the Berg tied the game at 5-5. Andrew Zenczak scored the first run on a wild pitch, while Steven Kisan came home on a balk. Ross Pruitt tied the game with an RBI single to center that plated Austin Fleming.
Fries picked up the win after tossing 1.1 innings of hitless baseball. Denison starting pitcher Tyler Vaske scattered six hits and allowed two runs in the no decision. The senior also struck out a career-high 10 batters in five innings of work. Heidelberg reliever Teddy Lowe suffered his first loss of the season after allowing four runs on four hits in 2.1 innings.
The Nicholson twins, Mahle, and Rice each logged two hits, while Justin Vaske drove in a pair and Tirado scored twice. Fleming paced the Berg offense with a 3-for-5 performance as the dish.
Denison improves to 2-3 on the year, while Heidelberg falls to 4-3. The Big Red returns to action on Sunday when they take on Rhodes College at 3 p.m. in Port Charlotte, Fla.