BECKLEY, W. Va. – Sophomore designated hitter Zack Tobias (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) went 2-for-3 with his first collegiate homerun, and the Case Western Reserve University baseball team opened the 2014 campaign with an 8-7 victory versus local-rival John Carroll University in a neutral site game on Friday afternoon at Linda K. Epling Stadium.
Freshman pitcher Jake Shields (Hamilton, Ohio/Ross Senior) earned the win on the mound in his debut with 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and three strikeouts. The Spartans (1-0) trailed 4-1 after three innings but scored once in the fourth and three times in both the fifth and eighth.
After the Blue Streaks (0-1) scored three runs to pull within one in the top of the ninth, senior tri-captain Ray Kelly (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute) came out of the bullpen and recorded the final out for his second career save.
Tobias contributed to both of his team's three-run innings with an RBI double in the fifth and a solo homer to lead off the eighth. His double in the fifth brought home junior left fielder Will Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne), who hit an RBI triple to center one batter earlier.
Also at the plate, junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs, while senior shortstop Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Jimmy Spagna was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI for the Blue Streaks. Spagna hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and David Crowley hit a solo shot in the second. Aaron Lapaglia threw the first five innings on the mound in a losing effort.
The Spartans now head further south for three games in two days in Greensboro, North Carolina. CWRU plays 2:00 p.m. games at Guilford College on both Saturday and Sunday, February 22-23 as well as a neutral site contest versus Franklin & Marshall College (Pa.) on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.