CWRU Completes Series Sweep of Brandeis; Englander Sets Program Win Record

CWRU Completes Series Sweep of Brandeis; Englander Sets Program Win Record

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team completed a sweep of their four-game series against Brandeis University with a pair of wins at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday afternoon, giving Matt Englander a program record 246 wins as the team's Head Coach.

The Spartans topped the Judges 8-0 in the first game behind a complete-game shutout from senior pitcher Jake Shields, and followed with a 5-2 win in the series finale later in the day.  Case Western Reserve has now won six-straight games, all in University Athletic Association play, to improve to 12-11 overall.  The Spartans' 6-2 conference record is good for second-place in the league, while Brandeis dropped to 0-4 in the UAA and to 1-9 overall.

Now in his 11th season with the team, Englander improved to 246-198-2 with the Spartans, passing former CWRU Head Coach Jerry Seimon, who was 245-415-6 during his 21 campaigns with the squad.  His .554 winning percentage is the best in program history, as he remains the only CWRU baseball coach with an above .500 record.

Game 1: CWRU 8, Brandeis 0
Shields was masterful on the mound during the opening game of the day, needing just 97 pitches to record the second complete-game shutout of his career, leading the Spartans to an 8-0 win over the Judges.

Shields surrendered just three hits and allowed only two walks, while striking out a career-high 12 batters during the game.

Senior leftfielder Josh Neal went two-for-five at the plate during the game with a home run, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored, while junior designated hitter Dan Watson was two-for-three with two RBIs on the day.  The Spartans' offense finished the game with nine hits.

The Spartans struck early in the game, scoring two runs in the first inning on a Watson single.  The score remained 2-0 until the fourth, when CWRU broke the game open against Brandeis starter Tim Lopez with a six run frame.  Junior Jacob Kucia started the scoring with a leadoff solo home run, his team-leading third long ball of the campaign.  After singles from senior catcher Eric Eldred and junior second baseman Alex Capetillo, senior centerfielder Aaron Cain made it a 4-0 lead with an RBI single.  With two on and one out, Neal drilled his first home run of the season deep over the wall in left-centerfield, giving CWRU a 7-0 advantage.  Freshman first baseman Noah Mehrle added an RBI single later in the inning, capping off the scoring for the Spartans.

The runs were more than enough for Shields, who would face the minimum number of batters in five of his nine innings, and allowed just two runners past second base in the game.

With the win, Shields improved to 2-3 on the season.  It also marked the 20th win of his career, as the right moved within one victory of Lance Sparks (1992-95) for the second-most victories in school history, and within four of Jamie Hora's (2010-13) program record of 24.  Shields also became just the second CWRU pitcher with two or more career shutouts, joining Matt Borto who recorded three over his time as a Spartan (1998-00).  Shields' other shutout was recorded against La Roche College on May 17, 2014 during the NCAA Mideast Regional.

Lopez took the loss for Brandeis with eight runs allowed over four innings of work, falling to 0-1 on the season.

Game 2: CWRU 5, Brandeis 2
Freshman southpaw Casey McConihe earned the first win of his collegiate career with five strong innings of work, and three Spartan relievers combined for four hitless, scoreless innings, as Case Western Reserve closed out the series with a 5-2 win over the Judges.

McConihe, who improved to 1-0 with the victory, allowed two runs on four hits and four walks over five innings of work on Sunday.  After leaving the game in the fifth, junior left-handed pitcher Liam Killingstad pitched a pair of perfect innings with two strikeouts, and junior righty Nate Glasser added two-third of an inning without surrendering a hit.  Freshman southpaw Scott Kutschke, pitching for the second-straight day, retired the final four batters in order to record the first save of his career in the game.

Brandeis opened the scoring in the game, scoring without the benefit of a hit after a leadoff walk to Jay Schaff, followed by a wild pitch and two flyouts, allowing Schaff to cross the plate.  The Spartans tied the score in the second inning, following back-to-back doubles by freshman designated hitter Chris Shorter and Mehrle.  In the third, CWRU gained the lead after Cain led the frame off with a hit, eventually scoring on a two-out RBI single from Kucia.

The Judges evened the score in the top of the fifth, but the Spartans would score two in the bottom of the inning to take the lead back, this time for good.  Cain scored the go-ahead run again, this time crossing the plate on a wild pitch, while a single by Eldred brought Neal home to push the lead to 4-2.  CWRU added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single from Neal, scoring freshman shortstop Rocco Maue.

Brandeis' freshman starter Greg Tobin allowed four runs in 4.1 innings, taking the loss in the game to fall to 0-2.

Eldred went two-for-three in the game with an RBI, and finished his weekend batting .538 with a home run and six runs batted in, starting all four games at catcher, despite playing doubleheaders on back-to-back days.  The senior raised his season average to .327 following his performance over the weekend.

Cain, Neal and Shorter each picked up two hits in the game, as CWRU finished the contest with 11 base knocks, including five extra base hits.

The doubleheader sweep put the Spartans' record above .500 for the first time this season.  Since opening the season 1-8, the team has now won 11 of its last 14 games.

Case Western Reserve will be back on the road next weekend, continuing conference play with a four-game series at New York University, which will be opening UAA competition next weekend with their games against CWRU.  The Spartans and the Violets are scheduled to begin their series on Friday, April 7th at 3:00 p.m.