Behind Another Big Day at the Plate for Gronski, Spartans Top Emory to Grab Early Lead at UAA Championship

Andrew Gronski went 4-for-4 with a homer and all four of the Spartans' four RBI. (photo by Laurie Dague)
Andrew Gronski went 4-for-4 with a homer and all four of the Spartans' four RBI. (photo by Laurie Dague)

SANFORD, Fla. – Junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) went 4-for-4 with a homer and all four of his team's RBI as Case Western Reserve University defeated Emory University (Ga.), 4-3, on day two of the 2014 University Athletic Association Baseball Championship at Sanford Memorial Stadium.

The Spartans (7-1, 2-0 UAA) remain as the UAA's only unbeaten after day two as the Eagles (11-6, 2-1 UAA) drop their first in league play. Overall, each of the five schools at the UAA Championship play eight games this week.

Gronski, also 2-for-5 in UAA action yesterday, is batting .615 (24-of-39) with three homers and 16 RBI through eight games this season. His two-run homer to right field got the Spartans on the board in the top of the first inning. That lead held until Emory scored three times in the fourth as Jared Welch and Wes Peacock hit back-to-back RBI singles in front of a fielding error that plated another run.

In the top of the sixth, Gronski and sophomore designated hitter Noah Sherman (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Preparatory) reached base with back-to-back singles then moved into scoring position thanks to an error on a double-steal attempt. However, a strikeout and a fine diving catch in left by Emory's Brett Lake kept the score at 3-2. 

The Spartans kept the pressure on and loaded the bases in the seventh. After a line out, Gronski stepped to the plate with two outs and ripped a two-run single through the right side of the infield. The Spartan bullpen made that lead stand with three innings of scoreless ball.

Senior starter John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) pitched the first six innings and limited the Eagles to two earned runs to improve to 2-0 for the young season. Junior Rob Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School) threw the next two innings with a strikeout, and classmate Dan Sondag (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.

In addition to Gronski, junior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, while junior leftfielder Will Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) was 2-for-5 with a run.

Brandon Hannon was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk for Emory. Hans Hansen (3-1) suffered his first collegiate loss with four earned runs allowed in seven frames.

The defending UAA Champion Spartans continue play in the "Sunshine State" tomorrow versus the University of Rochester (N.Y.) at 11:00 a.m.