SANFORD, Fla. – A four-run eighth inning was the difference as the Case Western Reserve University baseball team lost 9-8 to the University of Rochester (NY) in its first game of the 2011 University Athletic Association Championship on Wednesday, March 9 at Sanford Memorial Stadium.
The Spartans fall to 6-4 overall, while Rochester improves to 4-1.
Case led 6-2 after three and a half innings before the Yellowjackets scored two in the fourth, one in the fifth and four in their final at-bat in the eighth.
Charles Chanatry (1-0) pitched 2.2 innings in relief to earn the win for UR. Spartan freshman reliever Jose Vega (Strongsville, OH/Padua Franciscan) was the victim of the late rally and falls to 1-1 this season.
At the plate for Case, sophomore shortstop Matt Keen (Tallmadge, OH/Tallmadge), the 2010 UAA Championship Most Valuable Player, picked up where he left off last season with a hit and three runs batted-in. Senior catcher Steve Bills (Greensburg, PA/Hempfield) was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
The Spartans scored two in the third with RBI infield hits by junior leftfielder Jimmy Abed (Westlake, OH/Westlake) and Keen. Rochester took advantage of three walks and evened the score with a two-spot in their half of the inning, but Case answered with four in the fourth. Bills and Abed each hit RBI singles, while Keen drove in two with a hit of his own.
Rochester came back with a pair in the fourth as Dominic Caruso and Alex Caghan each drove in a run, but junior A.J. Boshinski (Alpharetta, GA/St. Pius X) was able to strike out the final two in the inning to hold the lead. The Yellowjackets kept the pressure on and got one more in the fifth thanks to an RBI double from Tyler DeClerck, bringing the score 6-5.
Junior Noah Lieberman (Evanston, IL/Evanston) came out of the bullpen for the Spartans and tossed the next 2.2 innings without surrendering a hit, but left in the eighth after walking the leading batter. Rochester then scored four runs with the help of two infield singles and an error to move ahead 9-6. Rob Barnard provided the key at-bat of the inning with a two-run single.
Case refused to go quietly in the ninth, loading the bases twice and scoring a pair of runs, but Rochester's Corey King was able to strand three runners for his first save of the season.
The Spartans are right back in action tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. versus Washington University (MO).