Spartan Bats Come Alive in Doubleheader Sweep at #22 Wooster

Spartan Bats Come Alive in Doubleheader Sweep at #22 Wooster

Case Western Reserve University continued its strong string of play as of late, sweeping the 22nd-ranked College of Wooster in a doubleheader on Saturday, winning the first game of the day 5-4, and following with a 13-7 victory over the Fighting Scots in the late game.

Saturday's wins marked the fourth time that the Spartans have come away with a sweep in six doubleheaders this season.  Case Western Reserve has now won four-straight games, improving to 20-12 overall.  Wooster, which was ranked 22nd in the latest Collegiate Baseball/ ABCA National Poll and received votes in this week's D3baseball.com rankings, dropped to 14-7 on the year with the two losses.

Game 1: CWRU 5, Wooster 4
Case Western Reserve junior center fielder Aaron Cain went five-for-five with a double, a pair of stolen bases and a run scored, and freshman first baseman Mike Najmowicz hit his third home run of the season as part of a four-run fifth inning, as the Spartans claimed a 5-4 victory in the first game of the day.

On the mound for Case Western Reserve, freshman Mark Gross pitched a career-high eight innings, picking up the victory to improve to 2-4 on the year with the 131-pitch effort.  Gross allowed four runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in the game, while matching his career-high with six strikeouts.

Wooster carried a 1-0 lead into the top of the fourth, before the Spartans evened the score on a sacrifice fly by freshman third baseman Jacob Kucia that scored Najmowicz, who led off the inning with a double.

The Fighting Scots regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the inning, but Wooster's advantage would prove to be short-lived.  With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fifth and freshman shortstop Rocco Maue at the plate, Wooster pitcher Zach Woullard threw a wild pitch that allowed Cain to cross the plate and tie the score at 2-2.  Maue followed with a sacrifice fly that scored junior right fielder Josh Neal from third to give the Spartans their first lead of the game, and then Najmowicz hit two-run home run over the wall in left to extend the CWRU advantage to 5-2.

Wooster trimmed the Spartans lead to a run after scoring a pair in the bottom of the seventh.  In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Nate Glasser recorded the first two outs of the frame, but a pair of walks put the tying and go-ahead runs on base.  However, freshman southpaw Corey Brown entered the game and retired the only batter he would face on a fly out to left field to secure his first career save.

Cain and Najmowicz combined for seven of the team's nine hits during the game, with Maue and junior catcher Eric Eldred also adding singles in the early contest on Saturday.  The five-hit game was the first of Cain's career, as he became the second Spartan to accomplish the feat this season, along with sophomore Daniel Watson, who had five hits against Manchester University on February 28th.

Woullard would take the loss for Wooster, falling to 3-1 on the season.

Game 2: CWRU 13, Wooster 7
The Spartans scored 13 runs on 16 hits during the second game, including 11 runs during the fifth and sixth innings combined to overcome an early deficit, as Case Western Reserve completed the sweep of Wooster with a 13-7 win in the late game.

The Spartans took a 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by Neal in the top of the third, but Wooster tied the game with a run in the bottom of the frame, and scored four more in the bottom of the fourth off CWRU starter Preston Williams, taking a 5-1 lead heading into the fifth.

However, for the second time on Saturday, the Spartans had a big fifth inning, sending 14 batters to the plate during the frame and scoring eight runs on five hits.  Case Western Reserve tied the game on an RBI single by Kucia with one out, and took the lead when Maue scored on an RBI groundout by Eldred.  Cain added three-run triple during the fifth inning, as the Spartans led 9-5 by the time Wooster was able to record the third out of the frame.

Case Western Reserve scored three more in the sixth, including a pair on a triple by Eldred, to extend the advantage to 12-5.  Wooster added on single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, although the Spartans got a run back in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Najmowicz.

Freshman Ben Chapman allowed just one unearned run in three innings of relief for CWRU in the game, while walking one and striking out three to pick up the first victory of his collegiate career and improve to 1-1 on the year.  Wooster's Joey Gilmore took the loss in the game to drop to 2-1 on the year.

Neal, Maue and Kucia each had three hits during the second game, while Edlred and Cain each drove in three runs during the contest for Case Western Reserve.

The Spartans and the Fighting Scots will complete their season series tomorrow, when the two teams return to Cleveland for a 1:00 p.m. game at Nobby's Ballpark.  Case Western Reserve will also play John Carroll University on Sunday at home, following the completion of the team's game against Wooster.