Strong pitching and solid base running helped Case Western Reserve University overcome a slow day with its bats, as the Spartans defeated Trinity College 5-2 in their second-to-last game at the Spartan Southern Classic at the Lexington County Baseball in Lexington, South Carolina on Friday night.
The Spartans have now won seven-straight games to improve to 9-1 overall, including a 6-0 record at the Spartan Southern Classic. It was the team's second win of the tournament against Trinity, which fell to 2-3 on the year with the setback.
Trinity took the early lead in the game, scoring a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first following a two-out error. However, those would be the last runs that right-handed pitcher Mark Gross would allow in the game, as the junior would go on to scatter seven hits and three walks over 7.2 innings.
The Spartans cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first inning, when sophomore center fielder Sam Neal led off with a walk, advanced to second on a groundout, and scored on an RBI single from junior third baseman Jacob Kucia. The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth, when three-straight walks by Trinity pitching loaded the bases, and wild pitches scored both freshman shortstop Jacob Lott and Neal, giving CWRU its first lead of the game, 3-2.
Case Western Reserve took advantage of two hit batters and a wild pitch in the sixth as well, as senior right fielder Nate Glasser crossed the plate in the frame to extend the lead to 4-2. In the bottom of the eighth, an RBI single from sophomore designated hitter Noah Mehrle scored junior left fielder Jacob Pestel to give CWRU a three-run advantage.
Gross would give way to senior left-handed reliever Liam Killingstad in the eighth, who struck out a pair of batters to end a two-on, one-out threat, and pitched a scoreless ninth with two more strikeouts to wrap-up the victory.
Gross struck out two in the game, earning the win in the game to improve to 2-0, while lowering his season earned run average to 0.75. Killingstad picked up his second save of the season in the game.
While collecting just four hits in the game, the Spartans drew five walks and were hit by four pitches, and made the most of their time on the base paths, stealing three bases and advancing on six wild pitches. Maue, Kucia, Pestel and Mehrle each tallied a hit in the game.
Freshman starter Max Barsamian took the loss for Trinity, allowing three runs and dropping to 0-1 on the year.
Case Western Reserve will conclude play at the Spartan Southern Classic with another game against Trinity at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 17th.