Pakan Collects Five Hits, but Spartans Fall Twice in Doubleheader at Heidelberg

Paul Pakan
Paul Pakan

TIFFIN, Ohio – Junior centerfielder Paul Pakan (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) was a combined 5-for-9 with a homerun, but the Case Western Reserve University baseball team was swept in a doubleheader at regional-rival Heidelberg University on Saturday at Peaceful Valley. The Spartans fell 14-7 in the opener and 7-2 in the nightcap.

The Spartans drop to 12-8 overall, while the Student Princes improve to 10-7. The two squads head to Cleveland for the finale of a three-game weekend series with a nine-inning contest tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at Nobby's Ballpark.

In game one, the Spartans struck first with two in the top of the opening inning as Pakan hit an RBI triple and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by senior outfielder Sam Alexander (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams). Heidelberg came back with three in its half of the frame thanks to a Spartan error and a triple by Ricardo Lizcano. From there, "The Berg" blew the game open with four runs in the second, two in the third and four more in the fourth. Lizcano highlighted the second with his second RBI triple, while two Case errors in the third and another in the fourth aided the Student Prince surge. The Spartans could only muster single scores in the fourth, seventh and eighth in addition to two in the ninth.

On the mound, senior starter Bradley Potter (Rochester, N.Y./Gates-Chili) saw his string of outstanding starts come to an end. The right-hander lasted just 1.1 and fell to 2-2 for the season.

Freshman Kevin Johnstone (Placentia, Calif./Valencia) and senior Cory Smith (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) each threw in long-relief, with Smith providing four effective innings with just one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts.

At the plate, Pakan missed hitting for the cycle by just a double. He was 4-for-5 with a triple, his third homer of the season, two RBI and two runs scored. Senior second baseman Bobby Marko (Lyndhurst, Ohio/Brush) was also 4-for-5 out of the lead-off spot with an RBI and a run. Senior catcher Peter Zak (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) at  2-for-2 and sophomore right fielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) at 2-for-5 also turned in multi-hit performances.

In game two, both starting pitchers were lights out until the sixth inning. The Spartans broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when Dague hit a sacrifice fly to plate freshman third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson). However, Heidelberg responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning with four hits and an error. Elvin Williams, Eric Monroe and Jordan Martin all drove in runs for "The Berg." The Spartans closed the gap to 5-3 in the eighth when Marko drove home a run on a groundout, but the Student Princes put the game away with two in their half of the inning.

Freshman Edward Abramson (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park) shut Heidelberg out for five innings before surrendering four earned runs in the seventh. Overall, Abramson (1-1) threw 5.2 innings and allowed five earned runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts.

Heidelberg's Chris Thomas (2-1) did not allow an earned run in six innings while striking out four Spartan batters.

For the game, Pakan was 1-for-4 with a walk. Sophomore infielder Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.

Tomorrow's single game with "The Berg" opens a four-game home stand for the Spartans that continues with another nine-inning contest versus Otterbein University on Tuesday, March 27 at 4:00 p.m. The home stand ends with a doubleheader versus Westminster College (Pa.) on Saturday, March 31 at 1:00 p.m.