PITTSBURGH -- Having won four straight against opponents with a combined winning percentage of .324, there was some question as to whether the Heidelberg University baseball was hitting its stride at a critical juncture of the season, or merely feasting off of weaker opponents. On Wednesday, the Student Princes settled the debate.
Heidelberg travelled to No. 17 La Roche College and beat the Redhawks, 8-4. An early offensive onslaught coupled with a handy start by senior Anthony Hajdu propelled HU to their fifth win in a row -- longest streak since a seven-game win streak in March.
Joey Rydzewski led off the game with a triple to center field, then scored on a groundout by Evan Long. After a walk and an error, Phil Frazier tripled to the gap in right center, scoring Kyle Slovick and Darrin Shirk.
Up 3-1 on the scoreboard, HU got five on it in the fourth. Parker Fronk legged out a one-out double that got past a diving center fielder. Kyle Jenkins was hit by a pitch and Joe Walton walked, loading the bases for the top of the order. Rydzewski delivered a two-run single to right. After a pitching change and a fielder's choice, the Redhawks gifted Heidelberg a run with a pair of throwing errors on a failed pickoff at second base. Alex Tesla spun and threw to second to try to get Rydzewski, but the middle infielders weren't covering. The center fielder collected the ball and airmailed the throw the third, allowing Rydzewski -- a Detroit basketball fan -- to trot in. After all of this, Matt Psychas launched his fifth home run of the season to left.
Hajdu (3-1) was sharp in six innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits while striking out six and walking two.
The Redhawks (29-8-1) managed to score three runs in the seventh, but reliever Marc Ochoa was able to escape further damage by getting a fly out to Shirk in center, stranding three.
Heidelberg (25-13) handed La Roche starter Tre Thomas (7-1) his first loss of the season and snapped the Redhawks win streak at five.
The regular season comes to an end with a Saturday doubleheader at home against Capital University. Following the nightcap, Heidelberg will honor its enormous senior class -- Chaz Bova, Jordan Beacorn, Joey Rydzewski, Cameron Charbonneau, Phil Frazier, Joe Walton, Zach Cleaver, Joe Sefik, Sam Ankrom, Anthony Hajdu, Darrin Shirk, Kyle Slovick, Ryan Marasti and Conner Pacella. The twinbill, which carries major postseason implications, will begin at 1 p.m.