Zak, Hora Lead the Way In Opener; Spartans Split with Westminster

Jamie Hora improved to 6-0 on the season with six stellar innings on Saturday. (photo by Ryan Baker)
Jamie Hora improved to 6-0 on the season with six stellar innings on Saturday. (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND, Ohio Senior catcher Peter Zak (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted-in and junior lefthander Jamie Hora (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg) threw six solid innings in game one as the Case Western Reserve University baseball team split a doubleheader with Westminster College (Pa.) inside a chilly Nobby's Ballpark on Saturday, March 31. The Spartans won the opener by a 4-1 tally, but dropped a pitcher's duel in the nightcap, 2-0.

With the split, the Spartans move to 15-9 overall heading into a Sunday, April 1 doubleheader with Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania at 1:00 p.m., while Westminster sees its record move to 14-7.

In game one, Case broke a scoreless contest in the second inning when freshman third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) singled through the right side of the infield to plate senior left fielder Sam Alexander (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams).

The score remained 1-0 until the home half of the fourth when junior first baseman Brett Ossola (Potomac, Md./Bullis School) walked and came around to score Case's second run when Zak singled up the middle on the first pitch he saw from Westminster starting pitcher Patrick Mulligan.

Westminster cut the Spartan advantage in half with a tally in the top of the fifth on an RBI single from Tyler Miller, but Hora extinguished the Titan rally recording a strikeout and a flyout.

Ahead by a 2-1 count, Case tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Zak notched his second RBI single of the opener scoring senior pinch runner Jimmy Abed (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake), who came on for Ossola who laced a one-out single through the right side. Sophomore right fielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) then produced a sacrifice fly to left scoring Gronski who got aboard on a Titan miscue earlier in the frame.

In addition to Zak's multi-hit performance at the plate, Ossola was a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored, while junior shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) went 1-for-2 with a walk.

On the mound, Hora improved to 6-0 this season and lowered his team-best earned run average to 3.19 going six innings and allowing just one run on four hits with seven strikeouts. Sophomore closer Jose Vega (Strongsville, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) came on in the seventh and struck out a batter for his seventh save.

In game two, Westminster needed just an unearned run in the first and a single tally in the sixth for the victory as the Spartan offense was held to a season-worst two hits. 

Freshman Edward Abramson (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park) was the tough-luck loser for Case, allowing just one unearned run on one hit in three innings with three strikeouts. Senior Zach Fry (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) threw two innings recording two strikeouts and two walks, while sophomore Josh Suvak (Independence, Ohio/Independence) and senior Cory Smith (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) each went an inning in relief.

At the plate, Gronski was 2-for-3 giving the Spartans their only two hits with a leadoff single in the fifth and a two-out double down the left field line in the seventh.

Vince Iosue (3-2) threw the first four inning and did not surrender a hit for the Titans, while Justin Prejsnar tossed the final three for his first save.