No. 16 Spartans Reach 30 Wins for Second Time in School History with Doubleheader Split at Oberlin

Lee Penzarella (photo by Laurie Dague)
Lee Penzarella (photo by Laurie Dague)

OBERLIN, Ohio – Senior shortstop Andrew Frey (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) went 3-for-6 with a three-run homer in game two to lead the No. 16 nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team in a doubleheader split with Oberlin College on Sunday afternoon at Dill Field.

Oberlin earned a 6-5, walk-off win in the opener, but CWRU rebounded to take game two, 10-2.

The Spartans (30-10) become just the second team in program history to reach 30 wins. The 2011 squad holds the CWRU single-season record of 33 wins.

With the split, the Yeomen sit at 16-17 and lose the season series with CWRU, 3-1.

For the day, Frey was 4-for-11 with three runs scored. His team-high 54 RBI this season rank as the third-highest single-season total in program history. Junior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) was 5-for-8 with a double and an RBI in the two games.

On the mound, the Spartans' top performance came from sophomore Lee Penzarella (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central), who threw a career-high 4 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to pick up his first career win.

In the opener, the Spartans led 3-0 in the top of the third after an RBI single by junior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban). The Yeomen answered with one in their half of the frame thank to a Ryan Bliss RBI triple then tied the score with two in the sixth as Bliss doubled home another.

Two innings later, the hosts went on top via a Mitch Novak RBI double that was set up by a fielding error. Refusing to go quietly, the Spartans quickly tied the score in the top of the ninth when junior catcher Jordan Swisher (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland) hit a solo homer to left. Four batters later, freshman outfielder Antonio Damiano (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) put his team back on top with an RBI single that scored freshman centerfielder Aaron Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban).

Undaunted, Oberlin rallied to win the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run, walk-off single from Andrew Hutson.

Pitching in relief for the second day in a row, senior left-hander John Fortunato (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) was saddled with his second loss (7-2) in 2/3 of an inning. Junior Kevin Johnstone (Placentia, Calif./Valencia) started and got a no decision with three earned runs and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Mattie DeDoes (1-1) only needed a 1/3 of an inning pitched to pick the win for Oberlin. Mike McDonald started and allowed just one earned run in 8 2/3 innings.

Offensively, Gronski was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. Swisher's homer was his sixth of 2014.

For Oberlin, Danny Baldocchi was 3-for-4 with a run, while Bliss finished 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI.

In the second game, the Spartan offense jumped out of the gate with six runs in the first two frames. Gronski singled in the first score, while sophomore first baseman Zack Tobias (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) provided a two-run double. Then in the second, Frey belted his fifth homer of the year to score junior designated hitter Will Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) and senior rightfielder Jordan Dague (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton).  

The Spartans later tacked on single runs in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh to counter scores from Oberlin in the third and fifth.

For the game, Dague was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs. Gronski was 3-for-5, and Frey was 3-for-6.

Penzerella came on in relief in the fifth and allowed just four hits while striking out a pair.

Julian Sawhill (0-2) took the loss for Oberlin in two innings pitched. Justin Cruz was 2-for-3 at the plate for the hosts.

The Spartans wrap up the regular season on Tuesday, April 29 with their annual game at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians. First pitch versus John Carroll University is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Prior to the game, CWRU will honor its four baseball senior student-athletes.