TIFFIN, Ohio – A complete-game effort from senior pitcher John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) led the No. 21 Case Western Reserve University baseball team to a doubleheader split at No. 23 Heidelberg University on Friday afternoon at Patriots Park at Peaceful Valley.
The Student Princes (15-4) won the opener, 3-2, but the Spartans (14-4) came back with a 6-1 victory in game two. The twinbill between the nationally ranked programs was originally scheduled for March 26 but postponed twice due to inclement weather.
Fortunato (4-0) stayed unbeaten for his senior season with just one earned run allowed in game two. In nine innings, the left-hander scattered five hits and struck out six. He now boasts a 1.58 ERA in 40 innings this season.
On a day where scoring was at a premium, junior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) finished 3-for-8 with a walk and three RBI for the Spartans.
In game one, both teams went scoreless until a Joe Staab RBI double put Heidelberg on top 1-0 in the third. The hosts added another run to their advantage in the fifth when Staab singled to plate Alex Grove, but the Spartans responded with a pair in top of the sixth thanks to RBI singles from junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) and Cain.
After scoreless at-bats for each side, the Student Princes went on top for good in the seventh when Staab followed a fielding error with a hit-and-run RBI single to left scoring Adam Hershberger.
In relief of starter Kyle Fluharty, Heidelberg's Derek Hendrixson (3-1) threw three shutout innings with three strikeouts for the win. Senior reliever Ray Kelly (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute) didn't allow an earned run in 2 2/3 innings for the Spartans, but the left-hander suffered his first loss of the year to fall to 3-1.
Offensively, Staab finished 3-for-3 with three RBI and a stolen base for Heidelberg. Cain went 2-for-4 for the Spartans.
In game two, CWRU jumped out a 3-0 lead in the second following a two-run single by senior shortstop Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and a run-scoring error. Heidelberg got one back in the bottom of the inning when Derek Hug lined a solo homer to right, but the Spartans answered with two in the top of the third on a single to right center by Cain. Five scoreless innings ensued before a sacrifice fly by sophomore designated hitter Noah Sherman (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Preparatory) made the score 6-1.
Gronski was 2-for-4 at the plate, while Cain drove home a pair and scored one.
Zach O'Driscoll (1-1) took the loss for "The Berg" in 2 1/3 innings on the mound.
The Spartans play a three-game neutral site doubleheader with Allegheny College (Pa.) on Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30 in Kent, Ohio. The first game is set for Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The two squads then play a 12:00 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday.