Keen, Hora Key Game Two Victory as Spartans Split on Day Five of UAA Championship

(L-R): Matt Keen and Jamie Hora
(L-R): Matt Keen and Jamie Hora

SANFORD, Fla. – The Case Western Reserve University baseball team bounced back from a 4-3 early afternoon loss to Brandeis University (Mass.) to defeat first-place Washington University-St. Louis, 4-2 on Thursday evening, earning a split during day five of the 2012 UAA Championship at Sanford Memorial Stadium.

The Spartans' (9-5 overall, 3-3 UAA) victory versus Wash. U. was keyed by a 3-for-5 performance at the plate by junior shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) and six strong innings on the mound by junior southpaw Jamie Hora (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg).

In game one against the Judges (5-8, 1-5 UAA), the Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as junior centerfielder Paul Pakan (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) and senior outfielder Sam Alexander (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) each recorded two-out singles and eventually came around to score on a Brandeis error and a balk. However, the Judges responded with two tallies on two hits in the home half of the frame before Spartan junior starter Jarrett Gish (Jupiter, Fla./Suncoast) induced a double play ground ball to extinguish the rally.

From that point on, both starting pitchers settled down with Gish scattering just four hits in five innings, and Brandeis' Mike Swerdloff holding the Spartans without another score until the eighth.

With the score tied at two, Keen laced a two-out double to left field and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Pakan, giving the Spartans a slim one-run advantage in the eighth. However, the Judges answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and held on for the win.

For the game, junior first baseman Brett Ossola (Potomac, Md./Bullis School) along with Pakan and Alexander were each 2-for-4 at the plate.

On the mound, Gish struck out four and didn't allow a walk in his five innings. Freshman righthander Kevin Johnstone (Placentia, Calif./Valencia) came on in relief and recorded the next seven outs, two of them on strikeouts, and allowed one run on one hit. Senior lefty A.J. Boshinski (Alpharetta, Ga./St. Pius X) was saddled with the loss giving up the Judges' fourth run but did have two strikeouts.

Swerdloff earned the win surrendering three runs (one earned) in his 8.1 innings with three strikeouts and no walks. Pat Nicholson got the final two outs for his first save of the season.

Versus Washington-St. Louis (12-4, 5-1 UAA), the Spartans jumped out to a 4-0 lead with three runs in the third, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Keen. The Spartans tacked on their fourth on an RBI triple by freshman infielder Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) plating sophomore outfielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton), who reached on a single earlier in the frame.

The Bears came back with an unearned run on an RBI double from Brandon Rogalski and a run-scoring single from Andrew Goldstick in the fifth. But, Hora worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam striking out Wash. U.'s Kyle Billing to end the threat.

For the game, senior second baseman Bobby Marko (Lyndhurst, Ohio/Brush) went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot, while Dague was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Ossola pounded out two base hits as the Spartans collected 14 overall.

On the mound, Hora went six innings improving his record to a perfect 4-0, allowing just one earned run on seven hits while striking out six and walking one. Freshman righthander Alex Vinett (New Windsor, N.Y./Don Bosco Preparatory) saw his first action on the bump this spring and struck out three in two innings, while sophomore closer Jose Vega (Strongsville, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) came on in the ninth for his fifth save.

Rogalski was 2-for-5 with an RBI for Washington-St. Louis, while David Madson went 2-for-4.

Following a day off tomorrow from action, the Spartans play on Saturday, March 17 in a rematch with Brandeis. First pitch is set for 11:00 a.m.