CWRU Baseball Falls to Emory 3-2 in Penultimate Game of UAAs

(photo by David Schofield)
(photo by David Schofield)

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team dropped a 3-2 decision to Emory University in its second-to-last game of the 2016 University Athletic Association Championships at Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium in Sanford, Florida.

The loss, which dropped Case Western Reserve to 7-7 overall and to 4-3 at the UAA tournament, clinched at least a share of the conference title for Washington University (Mo.), which will enter the final day of competition with a 5-2 UAA ledger.  CWRU, Emory and the University of Rochester are each tied for second in the UAA at 4-3, and could split the conference title with the Bears with a win on Sunday, coupled with a loss by the Bears.

Case Western Reserve and Rochester will play each other at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, while Emory will take on Brandeis University at 11:00 a.m. at Seminole State College.  Washington, which could clinch the outright title with a win, will play New York University at 2:00 p.m.

The Spartans got on the board in the second inning on Saturday, when sophomore designated hitter Daniel Watson started the inning with a single to short, and junior rightfielder Tony Damiano followed with a bunt single.  After a fly out to right off the bat of Mike Najmowicz allowed Watson to advance to third with one out, freshman third baseman Jacob Kucia drove him in with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

The score remained 1-0 until the fourth, when Emory struck for three runs, two earned, off CWRU starting pitcher Jake Shields.  An RBI fielder's choice plated the first run of the inning for the Eagles with two outs, before a wild pitch and a throwing error gave Emory a 3-1 lead after four.

Senior reliever Connor Tagg entered the game for Case Western Reserve in the fifth, and proceeded to pitch four scoreless innings, keeping the game within reach for the Spartans.  Tagg yielded just three hits and a walk and struck out four batters, lowering his season ERA to 0.61 with the 58-pitch effort.

In the eighth, Watson and Damiano were again at the center of a Spartans rally.  Watson doubled to leftfield with two outs, and Damiano followed with an RBI single that scored Watson and cut the Emory lead to 3-2, chasing Eagles' starter Hans Hansen from the game.  Damiano, representing the potential game-tying run, would then advantage to third on a throwing error off a pickoff attempt by Emory reliever Kyle Monk, but would be stranded there after a line drive to centerfield from Najmowicz was caught on the run by the Eagles' centerfielder.  The Spartans would then go down in order in the ninth, ending the game.

Watson finished the day two-for-three with a double, two runs scored and a sacrifice bunt, while Damiano went two-for-four with an RBI. 

Hansen earned the victory for the Eagles, improving to 4-0 on the season, as Emory raised its season ledger to 14-5 with the victory.  Shields suffered the loss for the Spartans, his first of the season, dropping to 2-1 on the year.