SANFORD, Fla. - Senior reliever Dan Sondag (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) retired all seven batters he faced to save a thrilling 13-12 win over New York University for the No. 15 Case Western Reserve baseball team, which won for the fourth time in five games and moved into a tie for first place at the 2015 UAA Baseball Championship.
The Spartans saw a five-run lead in the seventh inning dwindle to one run when Sondag entered the game with the potential tying run at first base. He struck out the only batter he faced in the inning, and then retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings to earn the save for junior pitcher Connor Tagg (Springfield, VA/West Springfield), who threw four innings of four-hit relief.
Sophomore centerfielder Antonio Damiano (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) went 3-for-6 with a run scored and two runs batted in to lead the Spartans' 15-hit attack. Senior rightfielder Aaron Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) finished 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and one RBI, while sophomore leftfielder Josh Neal (Gaithersburg, Md./St. John's College) scored three times and made a diving catch to record the game's final out. Damiano and Neal each registered two of the Spartans' seven stolen bases.
Senior catcher Jordan Swisher (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland) added three hits, and senior first baseman Rob Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School) and freshman second baseman Alex Capetillo (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) each knocked in a pair of runs.
The Spartans took advantage of three walks in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. After two quick outs, senior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) and senior shortstop Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) each walked. Swisher singled to load the bases and Gronski came across to score on another walk to Capetillo.
NYU put together five hits and two walks in the bottom of the first inning to take a 5-1 lead.
CWRU pulled within one run in the second inning, scoring three times. Neal and Aaron Cain each walked and advanced on a double steal. Damiano singled in both runners and later scored the fourth run when Kerrigan Cain bounced into a double play.
The first NYU home run of the season extended the Violets' lead to 6-4, but the Spartans regained the lead with three runs on two singles, two walks, two errors, and a balk. Freshman designated hitter Daniel Watson (St. Louis,Mo./St. Louis Priory School) singled with one out, eventually scoring on a balk, and Winemiller hit a run-scoring single with two outs to score Aaron Cain, who reached on an error.
After the Violets evened the score 7-7 in the bottom of the third inning, the Spartans scored twice in the fourth. With one out, Watson singled and Neal was hit by a pitch. Damiano singled in Watson and Neal came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Winemiller.
The Spartans scored for the fifth consecutive inning when Kerrigan Cain and Swisher opened the inning with back-to-back doubles.
CWRU tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning to take a 13-8 lead. Kerrigan Cain singled and Swisher doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs before Capetillo singled to score Cain. Watson hit a sacrifice fly to score Swisher and one out later, Aaron Cain doubled down the right field line to score Capetillo.
The Spartans, who now sit atop the UAA standings with No. 2 Emory University, play Washington University at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, March 13.