22nd-Ranked Spartans Return Home to Host JCU on Saturday

22nd-Ranked Spartans Return Home to Host JCU on Saturday

The 22nd-ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team will begin a regular-season ending four-game home stand, starting this Saturday, May 5th at 12:00 p.m. against John Carroll University at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio.

Live Coverage
Video: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/live
Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180505_0525.xml

CWRU Spartans

Case Western Reserve will enter Saturday's game looking to end a four-game losing streak, the team's longest of the season, including a 10-9 loss at John Carroll earlier in the week.  The Spartans, ranked 22nd in this week's D3baseball.com poll and 20th in the ABCA/ Collegiate Baseball Top-25, stand at 25-10 overall, including a 7-4 mark at home.  CWRU is batting .285 as a team and scoring 6.7 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 3.54 earned run average and a .244 opponents' batting average.

Junior second baseman Rocco Maue is batting .350 this season and leads all CWRU hitters with 45 runs scored, 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.  Senior designated hitter Alex Capetillo has hit a team-leading .483 with three home runs and 20 runs batted in, and junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski has added a .264 average at the plate with four home runs and 29 runs batted in.  The Spartans' rotation consists of junior Mark Gross (4-4, 4.13 ERA), sophomore Casey McConihe (3-1, 3.49 ERA), senior Ben Murphy (4-1, 2.31 ERA) and freshman Matt Levine (5-1, 3.35 ERA).  Options out of the bullpen include senior Liam Killingstad (2-1, 2.08 ERA, eight saves), sophomore Scott Kutschke (4-1, 3.34 ERA, one save) and junior Corey Brown (3-1, 2.94 ERA, one save).

Head Coach Matt Englander is in his 12th season with the team, and holds a 283-213-2 career record.  The 2014 Mideast Region Coach of the Year and winningest coach in program history has led the team to nine-consecutive seasons of 24 or more victories, three UAA Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances, while notching a .652 winning percentage (246-131-1) over the last nine seasons.  Englander is assisted by Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Andrew Rossman.

JCU Blue Streaks
John Carroll currently stand at 20-15 on the season, including a 9-4 mark in road games, and are scheduled to play a conference doubleheader against Baldwin Wallace on Friday before facing CWRU.  The team is batting .318 and averaging 7.4 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 5.30 earned run average and a .306 opponents' batting average.

Leading hitters for John Carroll include junior Patrick Keohane (.394, eight home runs, 21 RBIs), junior infielder Dominic Mittiga (.370, three home runs, 42 RBIs) and sophomore infielder Aaron Zawadzki (.339, three home runs, 32 RBIs).  Top starting pitchers for the Blue Streaks include sophomore Fred Moore (5-1, 3.54 ERA), senior Steven Virost (4-4, 5.06 ERA) and freshman John Merrill (3-4, 5.33 ERA), while options out of the bullpen have included sophomore Cameron Mayle (3-1, 4.98 ERA), freshman Duncan Cappar (1-2, 5.91 ERA) and freshman Nicholas Michel (0-1, 8.41 ERA).

The Blue Streaks are coached by Marc Thibeault, who is now in his 19th season with the program and has a career record of 385-345-3.  He is assisted by Bobby Bell, Ryan Nordquist, Pat Tatom, Anthony Mendoza and Max Linnville.

Matchup History
Saturday's game will be the second and final scheduled meeting between the Spartans and the Blue Streaks.  The two teams played each other on Tuesday, with John Carroll coming away with a 10-9 victory.  CWRU trailed 8-0 after three innings, but mounted a comeback attempted with seven extra base hits in the game, including two home runs for Alex Capetillo and a three-run blast by freshman Jake Ryan in the ninth that pulled the Spartans back within a run.  Capetillo was four-for-five in the game with three RBIs, while sophomore Samuel Neal added a two-for-five game with a double and two RBIs.

Following Tuesday's loss, the Spartans are 19-16 against John Carroll since the 2002 season, including a 6-4 record over the last 10 games.  The two teams split a pair of games last season, with CWRU winning the first game at home, 7-4, before losing 10-5 to the Blue Streaks at Progressive Field.  Tyler Wypiszenski went two-for-five with a home run in the victory, while Jacob Kucia added a two-for-four day at the plate.  Wypiszenski added a double and an RBI in the loss as well.

Spartan Notes

  • The Spartans claimed sole possession of the 2018 UAA Championship, marking the first outright title in the program's history and the third conference championship overall.  CWRU finished the 2018 season with a 12-4 UAA record, one game better than second-place Emory University.  The Spartans have led the UAA in conference wins each of the first two seasons of site play in the league, going 23-9.
  • CWRU's strength of schedule ranks as the 19th-toughest in Division III as of Thursday morning, according to D3baseball.com.  The strength of schedule measure includes both opponents' winning percentage and opponents' opponents' winning percentage, and is used as one of the primary criteria for selection to the NCAA Championships.
  • Tuesday's game marked the sixth time this season that the Spartans have hit two or more home runs in a game, and the third time they have slugged three or more.  CWRU registered a season-high four home runs in a 12-6 win over Brandeis on April 7th.  The team has hit 23 home runs this season, which is the most among UAA teams and 56th in Division III.
  • CWRU is fifth among Division III programs with 1.09 double plays turned per game.  The team's 38 total doubles plays are the 11th-most among Division III squads.
  • CWRU has gone 8-0 this season when scoring 10 runs or more, and has won 64-straight games when scoring 10 runs or more, dating back to April 17, 2011.
  • Rocco Maue is fourth in Division III with 11 home runs and seventh with 0.31 home runs per game, leading the UAA in both categories.  He broke the previous program record of nine home runs in a season earlier this year.  Maue is also second in the UAA in runs (45), runs per game (1.29) and total bases (93), while leading the conference with 19 stolen bases.
  • Liam Killingstad leads the UAA with eight saves this season, the 16th-most among NCAA Division III pitchers.  No other UAA pitcher has more than three saves this season.  His 14 career saves are the 22nd most among active Division III pitchers.
  • Killingstad is also sixth among active Division III players and 30th among NCAA pitchers across all three Divisions with 6.20 hits allowed per nine innings over his career.  Corey Brown is 49th among active Division III pitchers with 7.22 hits allowed per game over his career.