CWRU Tops #5 Cortland 3-2; Earns Second Win of 2018 over Top-5 Opponent

CWRU Tops #5 Cortland 3-2; Earns Second Win of 2018 over Top-5 Opponent

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team continued its strong start to the 2018 season, defeating fifth-ranked SUNY Cortland 3-2 on Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Spartan Southern Classic at Lexington County Stadium in Lexington, South Carolina.

The Spartans improved to 4-1 overall on the season, including a 2-1 mark against opponents currently ranked in D3baseball.com's Top-25.  Cortland dropped to 4-5 on the year with the loss.

Junior right-handed pitcher Mark Gross guided the Spartans to the win with a strong effort on the mound, allowing just one earned run and two total on six hits and a walk over eight and two thirds innings of work, while striking out six batters.  He retired 14-straight batters between the fourth and ninth innings, and threw just 110 total pitches in the game, en route to improving to 1-0 on the year.

The Spartans opened the scoring in the bottom of the second against Cortland left-handed starter Christian Dufresne loading the bases with one out on a hit batter and back-to-back singles from senior designated hitter Nate Glasser and sophomore right fielder Noah Mehrle.  Freshman shortstop Jacob Lott would put the Spartans on the board with a sacrifice fly, scoring sophomore first baseman Casey McConihe from third.

Gross worked around a jam in the fourth, inducing a ground ball double play with one out and runners on first and second to end the Red Dragons' threat, and would not allow another runner to reach until the ninth inning.  The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when junior second baseman Rocco Maue doubled with one out and scored on a single by junior third baseman Jacob Kucia a batter later.  Sophomore center fielder Samuel Neal extended CWRU's lead to 3-0 with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, the first of his career.

After retiring the first batter of the ninth, Gross allowed a ground-rule double and a two-out single.  Cortland would go on to score two runs off Gross with two outs in the inning (only one earned), and chase him from the game with the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at first.  However, senior left-handed reliever Liam Killingstad entered the game and induced a game-ending ground out to second base to secure the win and claim his first save of the year.

Maue went two-for-three in the game, raising his batting average to .476 for the year, while Mehrle added a two-for-four day at the plate, as the Spartans amassed nine hits in the game.

Dufresne took the loss for Cortland, falling to 0-2 on the year.

Weather permitting, the Case Western Reserve is slated to return to action at the Spartan Southern Classic on Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 p.m. against Trinity College (Conn.) in Lexington.