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Spartans take Bethany to soggy split at Nobby’s

Sluggers improve to 21-12-1 after 7-4 win, 6-2 loss


While the Cleveland weather continued to waffle between being sunny and rainy, the Case Western Reserve University Spartans kept one thing certain as they continued their excellent season. The Spartans battled through pockets of rainy weather to earn a doubleheader split with Bethany College on Saturday, April 14 at Nobby’s Ballpark. Case won the first game, 7-4, but fell in the nightcap 6-2.

With the split, the Spartans moved to 21-12-1 overall and 5-2-1 in their last eight contests as they headed into a crucial six-game stretch that lasted over a week. The Bethany Bison, on the other hand, continued to struggle as their record sits at 9-15.

In the first game, the Spartans wasted no time in putting runs on the board. After leadoff hitter Bobby Marko grounded out, junior shortstop Matt Keen shot a 1-0 pitch to left center as he tripled for the first hit of the game. Junior centerfielder Paul Pakan, who came into the game riding a seven-game hitting streak and batting .343, doubled in the ensuing at-bat to drive in Keen for the first run. Cleanup hitter and senior outfielder Sam Alexander delivered the second run as he singled up the middle to bring Pakan around to score. Bethany countered in the third, putting together a three-run rally to take the lead. With runners at the corners, Daniel Weller scored on a double steal. Brad Kubis later doubled to left center to drive in Alex Evans from third and Dominic Contruguerra from first.

Not to be outdone, the Spartans answered in the bottom of the same inning with two runs and retook the lead. Junior first baseman Brett Ossola ripped a two-run double to left center that drove in Marko from second and sophomore right fielder Jordan Dague from third. The match went into a stalemate for the next inning and a half until Case pushed three more runs across the plate. In the bottom of the fifth, Alexander singled down the left field line to score Marko from second for his second RBI in the game. After two walks, senior catcher Peter Zak singled to left center for the last two Spartan runs. Ossola scored from second while Alexander scored from third.

In the top of the sixth, the Bison tried to rally, but were only able to score one run when Derek Miller singled to left field to score TJ Zarewicz. Spartan senior reliever Cory Smith sealed the game as he recorded his first save of the season by pitching the seventh inning and striking out one.

Freshman pitcher Edward Abramson turned in a quality start on the mound, tossing six innings and allowing three earned runs with a career-high eight strikeouts. Coming out of the bullpen, Smith faced some early trouble with two on base and no outs, but the righty managed to escape with his first career save.

On offense, Alexander went two-for-two with a double, a run, and two RBIs, while Zak collected two hits in three at-bats. Ossola also collected two hits and a run.

In the nightcap, the Bison took an early lead with a run in the first inning thanks to a Spartan wild pitch and another run in the second on an RBI single by Juls Leto. Not done yet, the visitors pushed their advantage to 5-0 in the top of the fifth inning on a trio of unearned runs as the Spartan defense imploded and committed a pair of errors.

The Spartans sliced the Bison lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman second baseman Kerrigan Cain singled to right center to score Zak for the first Spartan run. In the following at-bat, freshman third baseman William Meador came in to pinch hit for Keen; he laced a 1-1 pitch up the middle for the second run of the inning, scoring Dague. The hit earned Meader his first collegiate RBI.

However, the Spartan offense was shut down for the rest of the night. Adding insult to injury, the Bethany pitching staff struck out three straight Spartans in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.

Senior right-hander Bradley Potter (2-4) suffered the loss for the Spartans as he lasted only 1.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits while striking out three batters and walking one. Sophomores Ray Kelly and Josh Suvak recorded the next seven outs. Freshman righty Kevin Johnstone went the next 1.2 innings. Senior lefty A.J. Boshinski recorded the final four outs with all of them being strikeouts.

For the Bison, Tyler Kurtz (1-2) notched the win, giving up two runs on four hits in 4.2 innings of work. He had one strikeout and walked one. Kubis went the final 2.1 innings, allowing one hit with three strikeouts.

On offense, Kubis went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Bethany. Juls Leto also went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. For the Spartans, Cain and Meador recorded one RBI each.

The Spartans will face some tough competition this weekend as they travel to Greencastle, Ind. for a key four-game series at nationally-ranked DePauw University on Saturday and Sunday.

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