Case Western sweeps No. 9 Marietta in doubleheader to boost regional chances
MARIETTA, Ohio -- Senior first baseman Brett Ossola hit a career-high three homeruns and matched a personal best with seven runs batted-in during the opener as Case Western Reserve stated its case for an NCAA Regional bid with a sweep of two-time defending national champion and No. 9 Marietta on Saturday afternoon at Schaly Stadium. The Spartans won by scores of 10-8 and 9-4 to finish the regular season at 27-12 overall.
Case now awaits the announcement of the NCAA Regional fields on May 13 at 10 a.m. ET on NCAA.com. The team's 27 victories tie last season's total for the second-most in program single-season history. The school record of 33 came in 2011 when the team made the first NCAA Regional appearance in school history at the same site of today's doubleheader.
Ossola was a combined 6-for-9 on the day with three homers and eight RBI.
The first of the three homers broke a scoreless tie in the third inning of game one as the round-tripper to left center plated senior shortstop Matt Keen and sophomore designated hitter Andrew Gronski, who led off with back-to-back singles. The Pioneers (27-10) cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double off the bat of Jordan Grilliot, but an Aaron Hopper single two batters later resulted in Grilliot being throw out at home on assists by junior rightfielder Jordan Dague and senior second baseman Paul Pakan.
Marietta tied the score in the fourth when Alex Toth led off with a single then scored when Chris Winpiger tripled to right center. However, the top of the fifth inning took on a similar identity as the third with Gronski and Pakan reaching base before Ossola bombed his second homer of the day to left.
The Spartans added to their lead with a two-run homer by Pakan in the sixth before Marietta scored three in the bottom of the frame thanks to a throwing error, a Zach Bukiewicz RBI triple and an Evan Brockmeier RBI single.
Then leading 8-6, Ossola tagged his third homer of the day to left to lead off the ninth, and sophomore leftfielder Kerrigan Cain added an RBI single for insurance.
"Etta" scored the final two runs in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Mitch Geers and Bryan Gregorich.
On the mound, senior left-hander Jarrett Gish gutted his way through six innings to improve to 7-0 for the season. Of the six runs Gish allowed, only three were earned as the southpaw moved to 4-0 with a 1.53 earned run average in his last fifth outings spanning 35.2 innings. Sophomore right-hander Kevin Johnstone, typically a starter, tossed the next 2.2 frames, while sophomore RHP Daniel Sondag came in with two runners on and struck out the following Marietta batter for his fourth save.
For the game, Ossola was 3-for-4 and matched his career high with seven RBI. Keen was 3-for-6 with two runs scored, and junior third baseman Andrew Frey finished 2-for-4.
Mike Mulvey (7-3) took the loss for Marietta with seven earned runs in seven innings and six strikeouts.
In game two, the Pioneers got on the board first with two runs in the second as McCoy hit an RBI single and scored later on a double-steal. The hosts added one to their lead in the third with a Toth RBI single before the Spartans got going in the fifth with an RBI triple to left center by Keen. Gronski followed with a sacrifice fly, and the Spartans trailed 3-2.
In the seventh, Cain led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt by Dague, and scored the tying run on a single up the middle by sophomore centerfielder William Meador.
Then in the eighth, the Spartans moved back in front for good when Pakan doubled, moved to third on a fly out by Ossola, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Frey. Case tacked on five more in the ninth for good measure with a Gronski RBI single with the bases loaded igniting the rally. Pakan drove in two with a single, Ossola doubled home one, and Pakan scored on an error.
Senior lefty Jamie Hora, throwing at Schaly Stadium for the first time since his complete-game victory during the 2011 NCAA Mideast Regional, pitched 8.2 solid innings to move to 5-2. Of the four runs Hora allowed, only three were earned on nine hits, four walks and three strikeouts.
Sondag entered the contest in similar fashion as the opener with two runners on and two out and proceeded to record the final out via a swinging strike.
For the game, Ossola was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Meador was 2-for-3 with two runs, and Gronski was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Keen, Pakan and Cain all finished 2-for-5 as the Spartans banged out 13 hits.
Evan Brockmeier pitched 8.1 innings for the Pioneers in the loss, while Toth led the hosts at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort.