CLEVELAND – A 13-run outburst in game one coupled by five shutout innings from senior left-hander Jarrett Gish (Jupiter, Fla./Suncoast) led the Case Western Reserve University baseball team in a doubleheader split with Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.) on Saturday afternoon at Nobby's Ballpark. The Spartans won game one by a score of 13-1, but squandered a late lead in an 8-7 loss in game two.
Despite the game two loss, the Spartans (24-11) continue to bolster their NCAA Regional resume with a 15-5 record over their last 20 games. The team was scheduled to play Denison University tomorrow, but the threat of inclement weather has forced that doubleheader to be cancelled.
The split pushes the Presidents to 20-11 overall.
Gish improved to 6-0 for the season and lowered his earned run average to just 1.64 with five shutout innings and five strikeouts in game one. Over his last three outings, Gish is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 23 innings of work.
In the opener, W&J had the first scoring threat in the second inning with a one-out double and a two-out walk, but Gish danced out of trouble by striking out the side. In the bottom of the frame, the Spartans picked up a pair of runs as senior first baseman Brett Ossola (Potomac, Md./Bullis School) drew a leadoff walk then came around to score on an RBI double by sophomore catcher Robert Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School). Two batters later with Winemiller at third, junior rightfielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) legged out an infield single to make the score 2-0.
An inning later, the Spartans blew the game open with seven runs on seven hits and an error. After the first run scored thanks to a wild pitch, the four crossed the plate on four separate RBI singles by sophomore leftfielder Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson), junior third baseman Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), Winemiller and sophomore designated hitter Jordan Swisher (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland). The final two runs in the frame came via a two-run single by sophomore centerfielder William Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Thomas Worthington), who scored the opening run earlier in the third.
The two sides then went scoreless until the sixth when the Spartans picked up an RBI groundout by senior second baseman Paul Pakan (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge). The final three Spartan runs came across in the eighth with an Ossola RBI single, a Winemiller RBI on an error, and a sacrifice fly by freshman pinch hitter Zach Tobias (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair).
The Presidents' lone run came with two out in the top of the ninth on a RBI grounder by Michael Ruffing.
Head Coach Matt Englander was able to pull Gish after just 82 pitches to allow the left-hander more rest heading into a busy final week of the regular season. Junior right-hander Sammy Altman (Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood International Charter School) threw the final four innings and allowed just one earned run on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Altman, who recorded his second save of the season, totaled season highs in both innings and strikeouts.
For the game, Frey was 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Meador, senior shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge), Gronski, Winemiller and Dague all finished with two hits. Winemiller's three RBI were a game high.
Brian O'Neill (5-2) started for W&J but only lasted three innings in the loss. Tyler Schultz was 2-for-3 at the plate.
In game two, the Presidents opened up a two-run lead in the first with RBI singles from D.J. Michalski and Schultz. The visitors added a pair to their advantage in the third with a Schultz sacrifice fly that was followed two batters later with a Derek McIlvaine RBI single.
The Spartans were held hitless through the first 3.2 innings, but Winemiller followed three walks with an opposite-field, two-run double that plated Pakan and Gronski in the fourth. An inning later, Pakan ripped a ball that took a wild hop over the W&J third baseman to bring home Keen.
In the sixth, the Spartans moved ahead 7-4 with four runs on four hits and an error. Keen hit an RBI double down the right field line, Gronski drove home two with a single, and Frey walked with the bases loaded to force home Gronski.
That lead held until the top of the ninth when W&J rallied in similar fashion with four runs on four hits and an error. The key at-bat came when Robby Peirish ripped a two-run double down the left field line to tie the score at 7-7. A fielder's choice later in the frame from Kyle McLain plated the winning run.
The Spartans threatened the tie the game up in their final at-bat, but with runners at second and third with two out, a line shot off the bat of Meador found the glove of President third baseman Kyle Smith.
Junior Josh Suvak (Independence, Ohio/Independence) pitched a total of 2.1 innings of relief, but his troubles in the ninth led to a loss. Senior "southpaw" Jamie Hora (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg) started and allowed four earned runs in six innings.
Offensively, Gronski was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Keen went 2-for-5. Winemiller's two RBI gave him a total of five for the day.
Nick Kolat (1-0) was the winning pitcher for the Presidents with 2.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen. McLain earned the save when he moved from third to the pitcher's mound in the ninth.