No. 16 Spartans Conclude Home Schedule with Doubleheader Split versus Denison

Andrew Frey (photo by Ric Kruszynski)
Andrew Frey (photo by Ric Kruszynski)

CLEVELAND – Senior shortstop Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) was a combined 5-for-9 with an RBI, and the No. 16 nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team concluded the Nobby's Ballpark portion of the 2014 schedule with a doubleheader split versus Denison University on Saturday.

The Spartans (29-9) tie the team's win total from last season for the second most in program history. The school record of 33 victories came in 2011. The Big Red (17-15) won the opener, 8-2, but CWRU bounced back for a 10-6 victory in game two.

In addition to Frey, junior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) finished 4-for-9 with two RBI, while freshman outfielder Antonio Damiano (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) was 4-for-10 with two RBI.

Denison grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning of game two with an RBI double by Charlie Apfelbach and an RBI single from Duncan Moran. A sloppy top of the sixth that included two errors led to four more scores for the Big Red, but the Spartans were able to score twice in their half of the frame thanks to a sacrifice fly from junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) and an RBI single by junior catcher Jordan Swisher (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland). The final two Denison runs came in the top of the eighth and ninth, respectively.

Junior Dan Sondag (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) took his first loss of the season (1-1) with four earned runs allowed and a career-high nine strikeouts in five innings pitched.

Ian Barry (3-2) was stellar on the hill for Denison with a complete game and six strikeouts.

Offensively, Frey, Cain and Damiano were each 2-for-4.

Denison finished with 10 hits as a team, and Ryan Mulligan was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI.

In game two, the Spartan offense got off to a quick start with one in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth. Damiano provided the key hit in the fourth with a two-run single to right.

Denison picked up two tallies in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Zac Lewinski and an error, but senior left-hander Ray Kelly (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute) came out of the bullpen and slammed the door on a potential rally with a bases-loaded strikeout. Kelly (6-1) wound up throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his team-high 15th appearance.

The Spartans then added a score in the bottom of the inning and two more in the sixth. Freshman outfielder Josh Neal (Gaithersburg, Md./St. John's College) accounted for the first run with an RBI single, while Cain dropped an RBI double down the left field line.

A four-run eighth for Denison made the game interesting as Lewinski provided a two-run single. Senior ace John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) then made his first relief appearance and recorded the final four outs for his first save.

At the plate, Frey finished 3-for-5 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Neal was 2-for-4, and fellow freshman outfielder Aaron Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop) provided a two-run, pinch-hit single.

Johnny Funkhouser (3-2) took the loss for Denison in 4 2/3 innings pitched.

The Spartans have just three games remaining in the regular season, including a 12:00 p.m. doubleheader at Oberlin College tomorrow (Sunday, April 27). The team will celebrate Seniors' Day at its annual Progressive Field game on Tuesday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. against John Carroll University.