CWRU Baseball to Open Season at #16 Shenandoah

CWRU Baseball to Open Season at #16 Shenandoah

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team will get its 2017 season started this weekend, when the Spartans travel to Winchester, Virginia for a three-game series against the Shenandoah University Hornets.  CWRU and Shenandoah will play a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday, February 25th, to be followed by a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 26th.

Live Coverage

 There will be live statistics available for all three games during the weekend at the links below:

Saturday, February 25th

12:00 PM (Game 1):
3:00 PM (Game 2):

Sunday, February 26th
1:00 PM:

CWRU Spartans

 Case Western Reserve University will open the 2017 season with high expectations, returning nine position players who started at least 32 games, three pitchers who made 10 or more starts, and two relievers who appeared in at least 15 games.  The Spartans, who received votes in both the and Collegiate Baseball preseason polls, won 18 of their final 22 regular season games last season, finishing the year with a 26-15 record and earning a bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.  CWRU recorded a team batting average of .287 and averaged 6.7 runs per game, while the pitching staff recorded a 4.22 earned run average with a .259 opponents' batting average.

Leading returners for the Spartans include 2016 All-Region Third Team selections in junior first baseman/ outfielder Dan Watson and senior pitcher Jake Shields, along with All-UAA Second Team outfielder Aaron Cain.

The Spartans are under the leadership of Head Coach Matt Englander, who will be starting his 11th season with the squad.  His career record of 234-187-2 is good for a winning percentage of .556, and he will begin the season just 11 wins shy of the program record by a head coach.  Englander is assisted by Nick Callahan and Branden Stucky.

#16 Shenandoah Hornets

After finishing the 2016 season with a 35-12 record and receiving a bid to the NCAA Regionals during the campaign, the Hornets were ranked 16th in the preseason poll and 35th in the Collegiate Baseball preseason rankings.  Shenandoah has opened its 2017 campaign with a 4-0 record, including a pair of wins against La Roche College, which was ranked fifth in the preseason poll.  Through their first four games, Shenandoah is batting .398 and has scored 6.75 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 4.82 ERA and a .226 opponents' batting average.

The Hornets' lineup features preseason All-American designated hitter Jake Loew, who has started the season batting .462 with a home run and five RBIs.

Shenandoah is coached by Kevin Anderson, who has a 536-264-2 career record that spans 18 years, the last 14 of which has been with the Hornets.  Anderson is assisted by Bruce Cameron, Jacob Mays and Nick Sborz.

Series History

The two teams faced each other last season for the first time in the history of the programs, with the Spartans also opening their 2016 season at Shenandoah with a three-game set.  Case Western Reserve dropped all three games of the series against the Hornets, then ranked 15th in Division III, falling 14-0, 4-2 and 7-4 during the weekend. 

Spartan Notes

CWRU has won five of its last six season-opening games entering Saturday's contest… The Spartans tied for the UAA lead with 15 home runs last season… CWRU was also 18th in Division III with 94 stolen bases and 15th with 2.29 stolen bases per game… Case Western Reserve batted .293 as a team against right-handed pitching last year, including a team-best .378 average against righties by Dan Watson… The team hit .299 with runners in scoring position… Watson will begin the season ranked eighth in school history in career batting average (.360), sixth in slugging percentage (.540) and fifth in on base percentage (.472)… Aaron Cain is six runs away from becoming just the 11th player in school history with 100 or more career runs scored… Jake Shields will begin the season with an 18-7 career record, and is just six wins shy of the program record for career victories, currently held by Jamie Hora (2010-13)… Shields is also eighth in school history with 128 career strikeouts, and is five away from matching former Spartan A.J. Boshinski (2009-12) for seventh… Cain led the team last season with 15 multiple hit games, and recorded a team-best 11 game hitting streak during the campaign… Sophomores Mike Najmowicz and Tyler Wypiszenski each had a team-leading seven multiple RBI games during the 2016 season… The Spartans were 2-7 against opponents that were nationally ranked at the time of the game last season, with wins over Emory (#3) and Heidelberg (#12)… The Spartans' strength of schedule was the toughest in Division III last season, according to CWRU has 14 games scheduled against opponents ranked in the top-25 nationally and another five games against teams that received votes in the preseason poll.