Spartan Baseball Wraps Up Opening Weekend with Doubleheader Split at Guilford

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Case Western Reserve University baseball team pounded out a combined 27 base hits and split a doubleheader at Guilford College on Sunday at Edgar McBane Field. The Spartans won the opener, 11-8, before falling 2-0 in game two.

With the split, the Spartans move to 2-1, while the Quakers advance to 4-5.

Of the 27 hits, sophomore designated hitter William Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) collected five in eight total at-bats.

In game one, each side posted a run in the opening inning before the Spartans added a pair to take the lead in the third. Sophomore left fielder Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) led off the frame with a double then came around on an infield single by sophomore third basemen Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson). After back-to-back singles by senior first baseman Brett Ossola (Potomac, Md./Bullis School) and senior centerfielder Paul Pakan (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge), sophomore catcher Robert Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School) hit a sacrifice fly to left.

Guilford answered back with one in the bottom of the fourth when Corey Wallace roped an opposite field single to plate Justin Pittman, but the Spartans came back with one of their own in the fifth as Pakan reached on an error, stole second and came home on a Winemiller single.

Then in the seventh, the Quakers batted around and rallied for six runs. Gabe Mirabelli scored on a wild pitch to open the scoring before both John Macon Smith and Pittman hit RBI doubles. Mirabelli also closed the rally with an RBI single that made the score 8-4.

Undaunted, the Spartans came right back with seven runs in the top of the eighth beginning when Cain drew a bases-loaded walk. Senior shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) followed with an RBI single to center, and a key error followed by a hit batter forced in the next three. Junior second baseman Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) eventually closed the scoring with a two-run single to left.

On the mound, senior southpaw Jarrett Gish (Jupiter, Fla./Suncoast) started and threw the first five, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three. Junior right-hander Jose Vega (Strongsville, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) blew a save opportunity but did pick up his first win of the season in an inning of relief. In his collegiate debut, freshman Sammy Altman (Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood International Charter School) logged two scoreless innings for the save.

Will James went the first five innings for the Quakers and surrendered four runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out two. Tyler Hunt took the loss (0-2) after pitching one third of an inning out of the bullpen.

For the game, Meador was a career-best 4-for-5, while Winemiller, Pakan and Keen each collected two hits.

In game two, sophomore right-hander Kevin Johnstone (Placentia, Calif./Valencia) was a tough-luck loser on the mound, logging seven innings and allowing only one run. The one run came on four hits and four walks, and Johnstone struck out a career-high seven batters.

The Spartan offense recorded 12 base hits but was unable to push a run across due to an 0-for-11 performance with runners in scoring position.

Borja Jones-Berasaluce (1-1) threw eight shutout innings with nine hits allowed and one strikeout to outduel Johnstone. Chad Wagoner recorded the final three outs and earned his first save of the year.

Guilford broke a scoreless tie in seventh inning when Wallace led off with a solo homer to right center. The Quakers added an insurance score in the eighth when Pittman singled home John Macon Smith, who reached via a double.

In the ninth, the Spartans threatened to get back into the game as Gronski led off with a single to left but was thrown out at second when Pakan hit a blooper to right field.

Ossola then singled to left, and both Pakan and freshman pinch runner Marques Winick (Naperville, Ill./Naperville North) each advanced a base following a wild pitch. However, a fly out and a strikeout followed as the hosts danced out of trouble.

For the game, Keen was 2-for-4 with a double, while Ossola was 3-for 4.

The Spartans are back in action next Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3 with a four-game series versus Franklin College (Ind.) at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio. First pitch for each doubleheader is set for 12:00 p.m.