Win over #4 W&J Highlights Saturday Season-Opening Sweep for Spartan Baseball

Win over #4 W&J Highlights Saturday Season-Opening Sweep for Spartan Baseball

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team opened its 2018 season with a pair of victories on Saturday, claiming an 11-inning 7-2 victory over fourth-ranked Washington and Jefferson College in the early contest, and following up with a 6-2 triumph over Allegheny College in the late game in Washington, Pennsylvania.

The Spartans' day was paced by a strong performance from their pitching staff, which allowed just three earned runs on 12 hits over 20 innings, including eight scoreless innings with just two hits allowed by the bullpen during the two games combined.  At the plate, Rocco Maue led the way, going six-of-nine with four runs scored and three doubles, while Jacob Pestel added four hits in 10 at bats.

With the two wins, the Spartans opened their 2018 campaign with a 2-0 record.

Game 1: CWRU 7, #4 Washington & Jefferson 2 (11 innings)
Case Western Reserve broke a 2-2 tie with a five-run 11th inning to overcome the 2017 NCAA Division III runners-up Washington and Jefferson Presidents 7-2 on their home field in the opening game of the 2018 season for both teams.

Junior right-handed pitcher Mark Gross pitched eight solid innings in a no decision, scattering nine hits and striking out seven, while allowing two total runs (one earned) and walking just one batter.  Senior left-handed pitcher Liam Killingstad earned the win in the game with three scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out a pair.

The Spartans' offense pounded out 15 total hits in the game with all nine starts collecting at least one hit in the contest.  Sophomore second baseman Rocco Maue notched a three-for-four performance with two doubles, two runs and a walk, while sophomore center fielder Samuel Neal and junior left fielder Jacob Pestel each had two hits apiece.  Junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski plated three runs in the contest, all with a bases-loaded triple in the 11th inning, and sophomore first baseman Casey McConihe added two RBIs, including the eventual game-winning run in extra innings.

Case Western Reserve's bats went to work early in game one with Neal singling to lead off the game, followed by a double from Maue.  Neal would cross the plate on a one-out groundout by McConihe, putting the Spartans on the board, 1-0.  The Presidents responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of a walk, a hit and a pair of errors to take a 2-1 lead.

CWRU had chances to tie the game in the following innings, leaving men in scoring position in the second and third innings. However, behind Gross' strong start, the score remained 2-1 until the top of the ninth, when Maue was hit by a 0-2 pitch with one out, and junior third baseman Jacob Kucia followed with a game-tying double, evening the score at 2-2.  Kucia was left stranded at second base in the ninth, and the game would go to extra innings after Killingstad entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Presidents in order.

The game remained tied at 2-2 until the top of the 11th.  The Spartans loaded the bases with one out on two walks and an error, and McConihe would single to drive in the go-ahead run.  With the bases still loaded, Wypiszenski tripled to drive in three more runs, and expand CWRU's lead to 6-2.  Pestel added an RBI single to score Wypiszenski, and give the Spartans a 7-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the 11th.

Killingstad worked around a walk and a single with two outs in the frame to close out the game, and secure the Spartans' victory.

Washington & Jefferson's Josh Palma, who allowed all five runs in the 11th, took the loss in the game for the Presidents.

Game 2: CWRU 6, Allegheny 2
McConihe and junior left-handed pitcher Corey Brown combined on a two-hitter in the Spartans second game of the day, as Case Western Reserve completed its Saturday sweep with a 6-2 win over Allegheny.

Maue added three more hits in the second game, going three-for-five with a double, two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI, while Pestel and senior second baseman Alex Capetillo each went two-for-four with an RBI.

Maue would again get the Spartans off to a quick start in the second game of the day, doubling with one out in the top of the first, stealing third, and scoring on an RBI groundout from Kucia.  After Allegheny tied the game with a run in the bottom of the frame, CWRU regained the lead in the fourth on an RBI single from Pestel that scored Kucia, before the Gators again evened the score with a run in the bottom of the fourth.

McConihe, who started the game on the mound for the Spartans, left after four innings, allowing just two runs on one hit and striking out four.  He ceded the ball to Brown, who went on to hold the Gators scoreless over the next five innings, allowing just one hit and three walks, while striking out five batters

The score remained tied at 2-2 until the top of the eighth, when the Spartans broke open the game with four runs in the frame.  Freshman Jacob Lott opened the inning with a pinch-hit double, and would come around to score the go-ahead run with two outs on a single by Maue.  Two errors by the Gators in the inning brought both Maue and Kucia across the plate, and senior second baseman Alex Capetillo capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI single that scored Pestel, and extended the CWRU lead to 6-2.

Allegheny dropped to 1-3 on the year with the setback, while starting pitcher Jarod Deagan took the loss for the Gators to drop to 0-1.

The Spartans will be back in action tomorrow, wrapping up their opening weekend with two more games at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.  Case Western Reserve is scheduled to face the Presidents again at 12:00 p.m., followed by another meeting with the Gators at 3:00 p.m.