Gronski Homers Twice, Hits for the Cycle as Spartans Win at Guilford, 23-11

Andrew Gronski homered twice, hit for the cycle, and drove in seven runs.
Andrew Gronski homered twice, hit for the cycle, and drove in seven runs.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) homered twice and hit for the cycle as the Case Western Reserve University baseball team outslugged Guilford College, 23-11, on Saturday afternoon at McBane Field.

The Spartans improve to 2-0 and will conclude the opening weekend of the season with a pair of games tomorrow. The loss drops the Quakers to 6-5.

"Starting with my first at-bat, I was really seeing the ball well," said Gronski. "I even told the guys in the dugout, I hope this pitcher stays in, because I was picking up the ball well out of his hand."

Overall, Gronski was 6-for-7 with two singles, a triple and a ninth-inning double. In addition to his two homers, he drove in seven runs and scored four. His two homers, six hits, four runs and seven RBI were all career highs.

"Someone mentioned the cycle right after my first homer," noted Gronski. "They told me I got the two hard ones out of the way, now go and try to get the two easy ones. I was fortunate to be able to get that extra at-bat in the ninth to make it happen."

Also with a monster day at the plate was junior catcher Jordan Swisher (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland), who went 3-for-5 with a career-best two homers and career high-tying three RBI.

The Spartans built a 7-0 lead after two innings as Gronski tripled in one during the first and hit a two-run homer in the second. The Quakers scored single runs in both the third and fourth to sandwich another three spot for the Spartans in the top of the fourth. Swisher highlighted that inning with a two-run homer to left.

A two-run single by Gronski highlighted three more runs in the seventh, and a Swisher solo homer led to three more in the eighth. Guilford made the game interesting with nine runs in the bottom of the eighth as Grayson Tuttle and Corey Wallace each hit three-run homers. But, the Spartans put the game away with seven tallies in the top of the ninth. A Quaker throwing error followed by a two-run double from sophomore first baseman Noah Sherman (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Preparatory) set the table. Gronski then stepped to the plate and shot an RBI double to left center, giving the third-year standout the cycle.  

For the game, seven Spartans recorded multiple hits. Junior designated hitter Will Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) was 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored.

On the mound, senior left-hander John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) worked his way through the first five innings without allowing an earned run. Freshman Preston Williams (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist) was one of three to pitch out of the bullpen, and struck out one in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Wallace finished 2-for-3 with the three-run homer for the Quakers.

The Spartans play Franklin & Marshall College (Pa.) at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday before a 2:00 p.m. rematch at Guilford.