No. 21 Spartans Sweep Regional Twinbill with W&J

The Spartans got to celebrate a walk-off win twice in the opener. (photo by Laurie Dague)
The Spartans got to celebrate a walk-off win twice in the opener. (photo by Laurie Dague)

CLEVELAND – Junior catcher Jordan Swisher went a combined 6-for-9 with a home run to lead the No. 21 nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of regional foe Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.) on Saturday afternoon at Nobby's Ballpark.

The Spartans (21-7) defeated the Presidents (14-11) by scores of 3-2 (11 innings) and 8-2.

Swisher had a wild day at the plate as he had what appeared to be a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th in game one called back when the umpire ruled on appeal that Swisher did not touch home plate. Fortunately, the Spartans won in the next inning on a walk-off single by freshman centerfielder Aaron Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban). Swisher still finished the game 4-for-5 and added a solo homer in game two.

Cain was also 4-for-5 in the game and 6-for-9 on the day.

The opener was a pitcher's duel between Spartan senior starter John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) and W&J's Eddie Nogay. The Presidents scored an unearned run in the top of the second, and that lead held until the bottom of the sixth when Spartan senior rightfielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) roped an RBI single through the left side of the infield.

The next inning saw a third significant scoring threat for the hosts end with a double play. Then, the Presidents scored their second run in the top of the ninth via an RBI single by Tyler Schultz. Undaunted, the Spartans forced extra innings when senior shortstop Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) provided a one-out RBI single up the middle to plate Cain. Another liner double play ended the inning and set up the controversial 10th inning. After the Spartans regrouped from the events of the 10th, Cain provided the game winner in the 11th as Dague scored the deciding run.  

Pitching in relief, sophomore Connor Tagg (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his first win of 2014. Mike Vizzini (0-1) didn't record an out in the 11th and took the loss for W&J.

Neither starter factored into the decision, but each was stellar. Fortunato threw a career-high 9 1/3 innings and struck out a pair. Nogay went eight innings and pitched around 12 hits while fanning three.

Game two was less eventful as the Spartans scored two in the first and three in the second to lead 5-0. Junior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) provided an RBI single in the first, while Frey hit an RBI double to highlight the second.

After W&J picked up a run on a Nick Vento RBI single in the fifth, the Spartans answered with two in their half of the frame. Swisher went deep to left and this time verified that he touched home plate. The Spartan lead was never in danger from that point.

On the mound, junior Dan Sondag (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) excelled in his first career start, throwing six innings with one run allowed and five strikeouts.

Offensively, five Spartans finished with two hits including both Cain brothers, Dague, Swisher, Frey and junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson).

Vento ended the game 2-for-4 for W&J, while Brian O'Neill (2-3) took the loss on the mound.

The Spartans conclude Alumni Weekend tomorrow with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader versus Bethany College (W. Va.).