The Case Western Reserve University baseball team wrapped up its opening weekend of the 2018 season in Washington, Pennsylvania on Sunday, splitting a pair of games with an 8-2 setback to fourth-ranked Washington and Jefferson College in the early contest, followed by a 4-3 win over Allegheny College in the late game.
The Spartans completed the weekend with a 3-1 record. Washington and Jefferson improved to 1-1 with the win, while Allegheny dropped to 1-4 with the loss.
Game 1: #4 Washington & Jefferson 8, CWRU 2
The Spartans outhit the Presidents 7-6 but struggled to score runs during an 8-2 loss to Washington & Jefferson in the opening game of the day.
After both teams exchanged scoreless frames for the first two innings, the Presidents broke through with a pair of runs in the third against CWRU senior starter Ben Murphy. Washington and Jefferson went on to add single runs in the fourth and fifth against the Spartan bullpen, and grabbed a 7-0 lead with a three-run sixth inning.
The Spartans got on the board with a two-out RBI single from sophomore outfielder Samuel Neal in the top of the seventh, but the Presidents answered back with a run in the bottom of the eighth. CWRU sophomore outfielder Noah Mehrle doubled in a run in the top of the ninth to cut the lead to 8-2, but that would be as close as the Spartans would get.
Junior second baseman Rocco Maue continued his hot start to the year, collecting two of the Spartans' seven hits in five at bats.
Murphy took the loss to drop to 0-1 on the year, while Washington and Jefferson's Tanner Gaerke pitched eight strong innings to claim the victory, improving to 1-0. Sophomore Matthew Speitel pitched well in relief for CWRU, allowing just one run on one hit and striking out four batters in two and two-thirds innings of work.
Game 2: CWRU 4, Allegheny 3
The Spartans overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat Allegheny College 4-3, earning a weekend sweep of the Gators with a win in their final game in Washington, Pa. on Sunday.
The Gators struck first in the game, breaking a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth with three runs against CWRU freshman starter Matt Levine, including two on an RBI triple from Noah Shannon.
Levine, who made his collegiate debut in Sunday's game, left the game after the fourth inning with a no-decision, giving way to sophomore southpaw Scott Kutschke, who would go on to pitch masterfully over the next five innings, holding the Gators scoreless and allowing just three hits without walking a batter and striking out four. He needed just 54 pitches to earn the first victory of his collegiate career.
The Spartans would go on to even the score in the bottom of the fifth. After a pair of errors allowed freshman shortstop Jacob Lott and junior first baseman Mike Najmowicz to reach base with one out, senior left fielder Nate Glasser drove both home with a double to cut the Gators' lead to a run, 3-2. Glasser would late score on a sacrifice fly by Neal to tie the game at 3-3.
The Spartans would take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, on a Mehrle single with two outs, followed by a double by Lott.
Kutschke would retire the side in order in the seventh and eighth innings, and work around a leadoff single in the ninth to allow the one-run lead to stand for the victory.
Case Western Reserve finished the game with six hits and took advantage of five Allegheny errors in the contest, as junior third baseman Jacob Kucia led the squad with a two-for-four day at the plate.
Allegheny's Dalton Donachie took the loss in relief in the game, falling to 0-2 on the year.
The Spartans will now turn their attention to a stretch of eight games in as many days during the team's spring break trip to Lexington, South Carolina. Case Western Reserve will begin the trip against Roger Williams University on Saturday, March 10th at 7:00 p.m.