The Case Western Reserve University baseball team split a doubleheader against New York University on Saturday, winning the first game 2-1 behind a strong outing from senior starting pitcher Jake Shields, before seeing their eight-game winning streak come to a close with a 13-9 loss to the Violets in the late game, at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York.
With the split, the Spartans moved to 14-12 on the season, and remained in second place in the University Athletic Association with an 8-3 conference ledger. NYU ended the day with a 12-6 overall record, including a 1-2 mark in UAA play.
Game 1: CWRU 2, NYU 1
Shields turned in his second-straight scoreless outing, holding NYU scoreless over 7.2 innings of work, and earning a win in the Spartans' 2-1 victory over the Violets in the day's opening game.
Shields held NYU (which began the weekend as the top-hitting team in the UAA) to just five hits and a walk during his 112-pitch outing, while striking out 10 batters. It was his second-straight double figure strikeout effort, after fanning a career-high 12 in his last outing against Brandeis. It also marked his 21st career win, tying him with former Spartan Lance Sparks for the second-most in school history, and placing him three behind Jamie Hora for the program record.
Shields has now thrown 17.1 straight scoreless innings for the Spartans, lowering his ERA to 3.86 for the season.
After leaving men in scoring position in each of the first two innings, the Spartans broke a scoreless tie in the top half of the fifth on a two-out RBI single from senior left fielder Josh Neal that scored sophomore shortstop Rocco Maue. CWRU added a run in the sixth, when sophomore third baseman Jacob Kucia scored from third with two outs on a wild pitch.
Shields left the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and runners on the corners, and sophomore Corey Brown got NYU's Coleman Hendershot to fly out to centerfield to end the threat, and preserve the scoreless outing for Shields. In the ninth, Brown walked the first two batters, but CWRU was able to turn a 5-6-3 double play on a sacrifice bunt attempt. After NYU scored a run on a base hit to cut the lead to a run with the tying run on base, junior Liam Killingstad entered the game and struck out the only batter he faced to secure his second save in as many games and his team-leading third overall this season.
Maue finished the game with two of the Spartans' five hits, including a double that setup his go-ahead run in the fifth inning. Neal added a one-for-two day with three walks and two stolen bases, while Kucia and freshman Casey McConihe picked up hits during the game as well.
NYU starter Sal Cammisuli took the loss for the Violets, allowing a run on three hits during his five innings of work.
Game 2: NYU 13, CWRU 9
A grand slam by Alex Capetillo in the fourth inning, the first home run of his career, gave the Spartans a lead, but the bullpen was unable to make it stand in a 13-9 loss to New York University that put an end to CWRU's season-long eight game winning streak.
The Spartans took advantage of an NYU miscue in the first inning, when senior right fielder Tony Damiano reached first on a throwing error by the catcher after a strikeout with two outs in the frame. Sophomore designated hitter Tyler Wypiszenski followed with a double off the wall in left field, scoring Damiano from first and giving the Spartans a 1-0 advantage.
However, NYU scored three runs in the bottom of the inning off CWRU starter McConihe, and added one in the third to take a 4-1 lead after three frames.
In the fourth, Wypsizenski scored a run on an error with one out. Two batters later, the Spartans had loaded the bases for Capetillo, who drove one over the wall in left field to turn a two-run deficit into a two-run lead for CWRU. The Violets would score a run in the fifth to pull back within one, and tied the game off reliever Scott Kutschke with a run in the sixth on a Jonathan Iaione double.
NYU would regain the lead in the seventh on a Jack Walter RBI single and a two-out, three run home run by Colman Hendershot, and then extended their lead with three more runs in the bottom of the eighth, carrying a 13-6 advantage into the final frame.
CWRU threated in the ninth, scoring on an RBI single by freshman first baseman Chris Shorter, a bases-loaded hit by pitch to senior catcher Eric Eldred, and an RBI fielder's choice hit into by junior pinch hitter Dan Watson, before the Violets were able to record the final out for the four-run win in game three of the series.
Wypiszenski and Shorter combined for five of the six Spartan hits in the second game, with the former going two-for-four with two doubles, and the latter adding a three-for-five performance with a double. The Spartans' only other hit in the game was the grand slam by Capetillo, the first grand slam by a CWRU player since Mike Najmowicz registered on against Oberlin on April 20, 2016.
The loss went to freshman Paul Slota, who allowed the four runs in the seventh inning, to fall to 3-1 on the season. NYU's Paul Gadaleta earned the win, raising his ledger to 1-0.
The Spartans and the Violets will wrap-up their four game series on Sunday, April 9th, with a single game, scheduled for a noon start. The game will be the final conference road contest of the season for the Spartans.