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The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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Gish and Spartans K.O. Cardinals 5-0

Southpaw’s nine strikeouts lead Case to shutout win

Coming into Tuesday’s matchup against Otterbein College, the Case Western Reserve Spartans were 3-2 in their last five games and in a need of a kick to jumpstart the team. The Spartans found their sparkplug in junior lefthander Jarrett Gish’s phenomenal pitching performance. Gish collected a victory in his previous outing, going four innings, recording six strikeouts, and allowing only one hit. The lefty continued his brilliant streak against the Otterbein Cardinals, logging eight shutout innings on the mound with a career-best nine strikeouts to lead the Spartans to a 5-0 shutout victory. With the win, the Spartans improve to 14-8 overall heading into a home doubleheader versus Westminster College this Saturday, March 31. The loss dropped Otterbein to 13-6 on the season.

Both starters cruised through the first three innings, with neither team able to generate a run. In the bottom of the third, the Spartans ignited for the first three runs of the game. Sophomore right fielder Jordan Dague began the offense by getting on base thanks to an error, and senior designated hitter Bobby Marko then got on thanks to a hit by pitch. With runners at first and second, junior shortstop Matt Keen delivered an RBI single to put the Spartans on board with the first run of the game.

On the following at bat, junior centerfielder Paul Pakan drove a 1-1 pitch to right field for another RBI. The transfer from George Washington University is currently batting .405 while leading the team in hits (34), RBIs (17), and home runs (3).

The Spartans tacked on the third tally of the inning when Matt Keen scored his team-leading 21st run on a ball hit by senior left fielder Sam Alexander that took a wicked hop off the lip of the grass and past the reach of Cardinal shortstop Sean Kettering. The Spartans had a chance to add another run, but Pakan was tagged out at home.

The scored remained 3-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when freshman third baseman Andrew Gronski doubled down the right field line to get the Spartans into another scoring opportunity. Sophomore second baseman Andrew Frey would come through in the following at bat as he shot a single to right field to drive Gronski in and push the lead to 4-0.

It didn’t end there; the Spartans added one more run in the bottom of the eighth. After Frey got on base with a single up the middle, senior catcher Peter Zak reached on a fielder’s choice and Frey was out at second. With two outs and a runner at first, Zak came all the way around to score from first on an RBI double by Dague that one-hopped the fence in left field. Sophomore righty Jose Vega entered in the ninth for a chance to seal the game. After allowing a single, Vega closed the deal as he forced three batters to ground out. The victory helped the Spartans push their current winning streak to two.

On the mound, Gish threw the first eight innings to improve to 3-1 for the season. The third-year veteran scattered just four hits while striking out a career-high nine hitters and not allowing a walk. Vega threw the final inning, working his way out of a base-loaded jam to preserve the shutout.

For the Cardinals, Greg Moomaw took the loss and saw his record fall to 1-3 on the season. The starter surrendered four runs (three earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks in seven innings of work. Adam Schwartz entered for one inning; he gave up three hits and one earned run.

At the plate, Frey went three for four with an RBI. Keen, Pakan, and Alexander all recorded one RBI on one hit. First baseman Brett Ossola and Gronski each went two for four in the game.

For the Cardinals, first baseman Billy Harkenrider, right fielder Thomas Lidner, catcher Wes Meadows, and designated hitter Bobby Hildebrand each went one for four in the game as the Otterbein offense were handcuffed throughout the game by the Spartan pitching staff.

The Spartans will return to Nobby’s Ballpark tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, as the Westminster Titans visit for a doubleheader. Last season, the Spartans visited Westminster and walked away with two crushing victories, 11-1 in game one and 17-7 in game two. The Spartans have won four of their previous six meetings while averaging 8.3 runs per game and holding the Titans to only four runs each game. The Spartans will look to continue their strong performance against Westminster. Game time is 1 p.m. for the first match and 3 p.m. for the second.

After their doubleheader against Westminster, the Spartans will have a packed schedule ahead of them. They travel to Allegheny on April 1 for a doubleheader.

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