CLEVELAND – A walk-off RBI single by freshman outfielder Aaron Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) capped a 3-2, come-from-behind victory for the No. 16 nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team over cross-town rival, Baldwin Wallace University, on Thursday afternoon at Nobby's Ballpark.
The Spartans (28-8) tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and won it in the ninth when Cain singled home junior designated hitter Will Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne), who led off the inning with a walk. The Spartans have three walk-off wins this season and improve to 9-1 at home this season.
CWRU's 28 victories are the third most in program history. The 2011 (33-15) and 2013 (29-14) squads own the top two single-season win totals.
Senior Ray Kelly (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute) earned the win with two innings of shutout relief to improve to 4-1. Matt Wittels (1-1) took the loss for the Yellow Jackets (19-13).
The teams traded runs in the first inning as BW's Brad Gugliotta started the game with a triple and later scored on a failed pick of by freshman starter Jake Shields (Hamilton, Ohio/Ross Senior). The Spartans answered immediately thanks to an RBI double by senior shortstop Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) after freshman outfielder Antonio Damiano (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) singled to start the inning.
Both pitchers settled in for the next two innings until Baldwin Wallace recaptured the lead in the top of the fourth. After an Eric Murphy walk, Cole Nieto doubled down the right field line, plating Murphy following another Spartan throwing error.
BW looked to add to its lead in the seventh inning when the Jackets loaded the bases off junior reliever Rob Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School), but the hard-throwing right-hander was able to induce a groundout and a pop-out.
The Spartans tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning when junior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) doubled home junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson), who had reached with a single.
Shields went five innings with two unearned runs to go along with three strikeouts. The Spartan bullpen was dominant again as freshman Connor Tagg (Springfield, Va./West Springfield), Winemiller and Kelly combined to throw four innings of shutout baseball with six strikeouts and only three hits allowed.
Aaron Cain and Gronski each went 2-for-4 at the dish to lead the offense.
CWRU plays its last games of the season at Nobby's Ballpark this Saturday, April 26 against Denison University. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.