Spartans End UAA Baseball Championships with 7-4 Win over Rochester

Tony Damiano (photo by David Schofield)
Tony Damiano (photo by David Schofield)

Case Western Reserve University junior Preston Williams threw seven shutout innings to lead the Spartans to a 7-4 win over the University of Rochester on Sunday, and keep the team's hopes alive for a chance at a share of the 2016 University Athletic Association Championship.

With the win, the Spartans ended play at the tournament with a 5-3 record, and currently sit half a game behind Washington University (Mo.) for first-place in the conference.  Should the Bears lose their final game of the tournament to New York University, scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. first pitch on Sunday, there would be a three-way split of the UAA Championship between Case Western Reserve, Washington and Emory.

The Spartans improved to 8-7 overall on the year, while Rochester dropped to 4-4 on the season, and finished in fourth-place in the conference with a 4-4 UAA ledger.  The win also gave the Spartans a sweep of the Yellowjackets at the 2016 UAA Championship.

Williams was brilliant for the Spartans on Sunday, needing just 76 pitches to maneuver through seven scoreless innings.  The righty allowed just five hits and one walk, while striking out four batters.  Williams earned the win, improving to 2-0 on the year, and lowering his season ERA to 1.00.

Williams finished the tournament with a 2-0 record over two starts and a 0.75 ERA, fourth among all qualifying pitchers at the UAA Championships.

All seven of the Spartans' runs came during the first three innings of Sunday's game.  With one out in the bottom of the first, sophomore second baseman Alex Capetillo doubled, and scored a batter later on a single from freshman shortstop Rocco Maue.  After sophomore designated hitter Daniel Watson reached on a fielder's choice a batter later, junior right fielder Tony Damiano hit a double to center field, scoring Watson from second base.

Case Western Reserve added three more in the second, scoring on an RBI single from junior center fielder Aaron Cain, and then adding two more on a dropped fly ball to left field hit by Capetillo, that scored Cain.  A second error on the play allowed Cain to come all the way around and score as well, extending the lead to 5-0.

In the third inning, Watson started the frame with a walk, and Damiano followed with a base hit.  Freshman first baseman Mike Najmowicz then doubles, scoring Watson, and freshman catcher Tyler Wypiszenski followed with a single to plate Damiano.

The Spartans would not score again, but Williams remained in control until leaving the game after completing the seventh.  Case Western Reserve carried the shutout into the ninth inning, after a scoreless eighth from sophomore reliever Nate Glasser.  Rochester would pull back within three after loading the bases with two outs for Aiden Finch, who would launch a shot over the wall in leftfield for the grand slam, his first career home run.  However, sophomore Liam Killingstad entered the game and retired the final batter on one pitch to earn his first save of the season.

Wypiszenski finished the game three-for-three with an RBI, raising his batting average to .435 for the season.  Damiano added a two-for-four day at the plate, and his 14 hits during the UAA Championships ranked first among all conference players.  Maue stole his 10th base of the season and his tournament-leading seventh in the game as well.

The Rochester starting pitcher, Dan Warren, took the loss for the Yellowjackets, falling to 0-1 for the year.

The Spartans will resume their schedule next weekend at the Marietta College/ BSN Invitational in Marietta, Ohio.  CWRU will open play at the event on Saturday, March 19th with games against LaRoche College and Thomas More College.