The Case Western Reserve University baseball team dropped the middle game of a three-game series against North Carolina Wesleyan College, falling 5-2 to the Battling Bishops in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on Tuesday.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Spartans stand at 2-9 on the year, while the Bishops improved to 16-7 overall.
N.C. Wesleyan scored two runs in the first, including one unearned, off Case Western Reserve sophomore starting pitcher Mark Gross, but the righty would settle in from there, holding the Bishops scoreless over the next three and two thirds innings. With the score still at 2-0, senior Tony Damiano led the top of the fourth off with a double, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, and freshman Noah Mehrle followed with an RBI base hit. After Mehrle stole second, junior Dan Watson drove him in with an RBI double, tying the game at 2-2.
Working on just two days rest, Gross left the game with two outs and runners on the corners in the bottom of the fifth, but sophomore Corey Brown entered the game in relief to get the final out in the inning, and struck out three of the four batters he faced in the sixth to keep the score knotted.
With the score still tied in the top of the eighth, the Spartans threated to score after senior Aaron Cain reach on an error to start the inning, stole second, and moved to third on a fly out, but could not get the tying run across the plate. The Bishops went on to take the lead in the game in the bottom of the inning, scoring the go-ahead run on a one-out RBI bunt single, and adding two more runs in the frame to take a 5-2 lead into the top of the ninth. The Spartans brought the tying run to the on deck circle with one out in the top of the ninth, but would not score in their final at bat.
Damiano finished the game with two of the Spartans' six hits, going two-for-three with a walk.
Junior southpaw reliever Liam Killingstad suffered the loss in Tuesday's game, dropping to 0-2 on the year. Joseph Borgerding pitched the final two innings for the Bishops to earn the win in relief, improving to 2-2 for the campaign.
After an off day tomorrow, the Spartans and the Battling Bishops will play the rubber game of their three-game series on Thursday, March 16th at 3:00 p.m. in Rocky Mount.