UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – Opening the final week of the 2012 regular season, the Case Western Reserve University baseball team rode a fifth-inning grandslam from junior centerfielder Paul Pakan (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) on its way to a key 7-5 victory at local-rival John Carroll University on Tuesday afternoon at Schweickert Field.
The Spartans improve to 26-14-1 overall with only a Sunday, April 29 home doubleheader with JCU remaining on the schedule. Case's 26 victories equal the second-highest single-season total in program history. With the loss, the Blue Streaks drop to 16-15.
Case jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning as senior designated hitter Bobby Marko (Lyndhurst, Ohio/Brush) led off with a ground-rule double, then came around to score on a single to left by junior shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge). Keen would score later in the frame on a Blue Streak error.
In the fifth, the Spartans loaded the bases with a single by sophomore second baseman Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and walks by Marko and Keen. Pakan then stepped to the plate and bombed his team-best seventh homerun of the spring to left field, making the score 6-0.
The Blue Streaks cut into the lead with three in their half of the inning as Joe Veltri hit an RBI double to cap the scoring, but Spartan sophomore Jose Vega (Strongsville, Ohio) came out of the bullpen with a clutch save appearance to preserve the victory.
Freshman Edward Abramson (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park) picked up the win on the mound to improve to 4-2 in his rookie campaign. The right-hander started and threw five-plus innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with one strikeout. Vega tossed a career-high 3.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts for his team-high ninth save.
At the plate, freshman utility player Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) was 2-for-3 with a walk, while senior outfielder Sam Alexander (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) was 2-for-4 with a run batted-in.
For John Carroll, Ryan Konsler and Mark Huddle each collected two hits and an RBI. Patrick O'Brien took the loss on the mound, surrendering five earned runs in six innings.
The Spartans and Blue Streaks meet again this Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader at Nobby's Ballpark as Case looks to improve its NCAA Tournament resume.