Spartans' Baseball Concludes Season With Fifth Walk-Off Victory in Extra Innings Over John Carroll

Josh Neal (photo by David Schofield)
Josh Neal (photo by David Schofield)

CLEVELAND - The Case Western Reserve baseball team ended its 2015 season in style as sophomore rightfielder Josh Neal (Gaithersburg, Md./St. John's College) singled in sophomore catcher Eric Eldred (Tecumseh, Mich./Tecumseh) with the winning run in extra innings to give the Spartans a 7-6 victory over John Carroll at Nobby's Ball Park.

The walk-off was the fifth of the season for the Spartans, who split the doubleheader after earning the win in the completion of a suspended game not finished at John Carroll earlier this month.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Spartans tied the game 1-1 in the third inning when senior third baseman Andrew Gronski (Hilliard, Ohio / Hilliard Davidson) singled in freshman shortstop Alex Capetillo (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) with two outs. CWRU took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning when Eldred tripled down the right field line with two outs to plate senior leftfielder Will Meador (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) and freshman centerfielder Daniel Watson (St. Louis, Mo./St. Louis Priory School).

The Blue Streaks scored five times in the fifth inning of the scheduled seven-inning contest to take a 6-3 lead. 

The Spartans began their comeback in the bottom half of the fifth when senior second baseman Kerrigan Cain (Hartville, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) singled in Neal. CWRU tied the game in the sixth when Watson led off the inning with a triple and scored on a single by Meador. Two outs later, Neal doubled down the left field line to score Meador.

After junior Lee Penzarella (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central) induced an inning-ending double play in the top of the eighth inning, Eldred opened the home half with a single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Capetillo and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Neal hit the game-winning single.

Nineteen players saw action in the season-closing contest. Penzarella threw 3.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win, Neal went 2-for-2 with a run scored and two runs batted in, and Watson finished 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and two runs scored.

CWRU dropped the first game of the doubleheader 4-2. Senior first baseman Rob Winemiller (Twinsburg, Ohio/University School) continued his torrid late-season hitting by going 2-for-4, while Capetillo contributed two hits and one RBI.

The day began with senior pitcher Dan Sondag (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) throwing a scoreless inning to complete the Spartans' 6-5 win in a game suspended due to darkness on Apr. 6. He earned his fourth win of the season with a total of three innings of work, yielding one unearned run.

Gronski went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in, and Eldred and freshman shortstop Danny Souza (Hollister, Calif./Palma) each added a pair of hits and a run scored.

The Spartans finished the season with a 24-15 record. There will be a season wrap-up next week.