The Case Western Reserve University baseball team will get its 2018 season underway this weekend, traveling to Washington, Pennsylvania for two games apiece against host and fourth-ranked Washington and Jefferson College, and Allegheny College. The Spartans will the Presidents at 1:00 p.m. and the Gators at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd, followed by a noon game against Washington & Jefferson and a 3:00 p.m. start against Allegheny on Sunday, March 4th.
Saturday, March 3rd
at W&J (1:00 PM) – Live Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/washjeff/baseball/
vs. Allegheny (4:00 PM) – Live Stats: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/allegheny/
Sunday, March 4th
at W&J (12:00 PM) – Live Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/washjeff/baseball/
vs. Allegheny (3:00 PM) – Live Stats: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/allegheny/
Case Western Reserve will be returning 22 players from last year's team, which finished the year with a 24-16 overall record, including an 11-5 University Athletic Association mark to place second in the conference. Case Western Reserve hit .273 as a team last season and averaged 6.75 runs per game, while leading the UAA in home runs (18), triples (17), and doubles (74), and the pitching staff finished the year with an earned run average of 4.35 and an opponents' batting average of .262. Among the team's top returning hitters are junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski (.336, three HRs, 30 RBIs), senior outfielder Dan Watson (.291, 24 RBIs) and junior infielder Jacob Kucia (.290, three HRs, 18 RBIs). Junior right-handed pitcher Mark Gross (4-4, 2.93 ERA) and senior right-handed pitcher Ben Murphy (4-1, 2.51 ERA) are the team's top returning starting pitchers, while senior lefty Liam Killingstad (3.34 ERA, four saves), junior lefty Corey Brown (3-1, 3.63 ERA) and sophomore lefty Scott Kutschke (1.29 ERA, five saves) are the team's leading returners in the bullpen.
Head Coach Matt Englander will be starting his 12th season with the team, and will enter the campaign with a 258-203-2 career record. The 2014 Mideast Region Coach of the Year and winningest coach in program history has led the team to eight-consecutive seasons of 24 or more victories, two UAA Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances, while notching a .646 winning percentage over the last eight seasons. Englander is assisted by Nick Callahan and Branden Stucky.
#4 Washington & Jefferson Presidents
The Presidents will be opening their 2018 campaign on Saturday, following the most successful year in the program's history, when the squad went 42-13 and finished second at the NCAA Division III Championships. Washington and Jefferson opened the 2018 season ranked third in the D3baseball.com/NCBWA Preseason Top 25 and 13th in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll, sliding down to fourth in the D3baseball.com Week 1 poll released on Tuesday. Despite losing a large senior class from last year's team, the Presidents are slated to return first baseman Mark Merlino (.388, 8 HRs, 47 RBIs) and outfielder Ryan Sciullo (.338, 3 HRs, 37 RBIs), along with starting pitcher Bryce Schnatterly (9-1, 3.40 ERA) and reliever Will Bowser (1-1, 1.66 ERA). The Presidents hit .346 as a team and averaged 8.9 runs per game, while pitching to a 3.46 ERA with a .249 opponents' average.
The Presidents are under the leadership of Head Coach Jeff Mountain, who will be embarking on his 16th season with the team, and has a career record of 427-231-1. He is assisted by Zak Worsley, Ryan Verlihay, DJ Sammel, Tony Pascarella and Mark Thomchick.
This weekend will mark the first two of three scheduled meetings between the Spartans and the Presidents, as the two teams are slated to face each other again at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 18th. Last year, CWRU suffered a pair of one-run losses at Washington and Jefferson, losing 7-6 in the first game and 9-8 in the second contest. CWRU's Noah Mehrle hit .556 (five-for-nine) with three runs, three RBIs and two doubles over the two games last year, while Dan Watson went three-for-seven with four RBIs and a pair of doubles in the series. The year prior, the Spartans swept a doubleheader against the Presidents, and had a four-game winning streak against Washington & Jefferson before last year's setbacks.
Following a 23-17 record last season, the Gators opened their 2018 campaign by dropping two of three games at John Carroll University in Beckley, West Virginia last weekend. Allegheny was outscored 32-30 over the three games, batting .313 as a team, while the pitching staff tallied an 8.07 earned run average and a .317 opponents' batting average. Tommy Cannon led the team offensively, batting .636 (seven-of-11) with four doubles, a home run and five runs batted in.
Allegheny is led by Head Coach Brandon Crum, who is in his first season with the team. He is assisted by Mike Victory and Darryl Jones.
Last year, the Spartans defeated Allegheny 6-1 in Washington, Pennsylvania behind a complete-game four-hitter for Mark Gross, while Noah Mehrle went one-for-three with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Case Western Reserve has won its last three meetings with Allegheny, and seven of the last nine matchups, dating back to the 2010-11 season.
- The Spartans will be looking for their first season-opening win since an 8-5 victory over Washington University (Mo.) on March 8, 2015. Prior to the last two years, the Spartans had a streak of five-straight season-opening victories.
- CWRU recorded the highest strength of schedule in Division III last season, according to D3baseball.com. In 2018, the Spartans have six games scheduled against teams ranked in this week's D3baseball.com Top-25 (all currently in the top-10 nationally) and another six games against unranked squads receiving votes in the latest poll.
- Sophomore infielder/ pitcher Casey McConihe will open the 2018 season with an active nine-game hitting streak. Tyler Wypiszenski will begin the year with a seven-game hitting streak.
- Wypiszenski had 12 multiple hit games last season, including a team-leading four efforts of three or more hits in a game. Dan Watson paced the squad in 2017 with seven multiple RBI games, while Wypiszenski had six multiple RBI games, including two games with five or more RBIs.
- Watson will enter his senior season ranked 10th in school history in career on base percentage (.438) and eighth in triples (7). Junior infielder Rocco Maue is sixth in program history in stolen base percentage (.852). Among pitchers with 50 or more career innings, Mark Gross has the sixth-lowest career ERA (3.22), while Ben Murphy is ninth (3.79) and Liam Killingstad is 10th (3.86). Killingstad is also the program's all-time leader among pitchers with 50 or more innings with a .204 career opponents' batting average, while Murphy is third (.236) and Corey Brown is 10th (.267).
- CWRU went 6-0 last season when scoring 10 runs or more, and has won 56-straight games when scoring 10 runs or more, dating back to April 17, 2011.