Fortunato Stellar on the Mound, but Spartans Drop 1-0 Heartbreaker to No. 16 Wisconsin-Stevens Point in NCAA Midwest Regional Championship

John Fortunato was stellar on the mound with only one earned run allowed in eight innings. (photo by Nick Minerd)
John Fortunato was stellar on the mound with only one earned run allowed in eight innings. (photo by Nick Minerd)

WHITEWATER, Wis. – Junior left-hander John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) pitched eight stellar innings, but the fourth-seeded Case Western Reserve University baseball team dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to No. 16 nationally-ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional on Saturday afternoon at James B. Miller Stadium.  

The Spartans outstanding run ends with a 29-14 overall record. The 29 victories represent the second-highest total in program history.

Seeded third, the Pointers (39-9) win the regional with a 4-0 mark and advance as one of eight teams at the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin next week. The Spartans would have had to beat UW-Stevens Point twice to win the region.

Fortunato (5-2) allowed just one earned run on six hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

UW-Stevens Point right-hander Max Frederick kept the Spartan bats in check with 7.2 shutout innings and five strikeouts.

Baserunners were at a premium the entire game with only one advancing to third until the bottom of the seventh. In that inning, the Pointers broke through when Jimmy Coady led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a "bloop" single to center by Riley Spetz.

The Spartans best shot came in the top of the eighth when sophomore catcher Robert Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School) singled, and junior rightfielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) reached via an error. But with runners at the corners and two out, the Pointers went to the bullpen, and Tyler Flood induced a pop fly. Flood then retired the Spartans in order on just five pitches in the ninth.

Offensively for Case, Winemiller was 2-for-3, while senior second baseman Paul Pakan (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) went 2-for-5.

Winemiller, along with the team's winning pitchers this week in senior lefty Jamie Hora (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg) and sophomore right-hander Kevin Johnstone (Placentia, Calif./Valencia) were named to the all-tournament team.

The runner-up finish is the best for the Spartans, who made just the second regional appearance in school history. Earlier this spring, the team won the program's first University Athletic Association Championship.

The season was also highlighted by a sweep of then No. 9 nationally-ranked Marietta College earlier this month and an upset of No. 2 University of St. Thomas (Minn.) yesterday to advance in the regional bracket.