The 18th-ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team will look to keep its winning ways going, when the team returns to its home state of Ohio for pair of doubleheaders against Ohio Wesleyan University this weekend. The Spartans are scheduled to open their home campaign with a pair of games against the Battling Bishops on Saturday, March 24th starting at noon at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, before the series transitions to Littick Field in Delaware, Ohio for two more contests starting at noon on Sunday, March 25th.
Saturday, March 24th
Game 1 Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180324_1fzc.xml
Game 2 Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180324_izfu.xml
Sunday, March 25th
Live Stats: http://go.owu.edu/~owusport/BishopLive/baseball/live.html
Case Western Reserve has opened the 2018 season with a 10-1 overall record, including wins in each of the last eight games, and has risen to 18th in the D3baseball.com Top-25 and to 12th in the ABCA/ Collegiate Baseball weekly poll. The Spartans are coming off a 7-0 performance at the Spartan Southern Classic in Lexington, South Carolina last week, with wins over fifth-ranked Cortland, Trinity, Roger Williams and Rochester. As a team, CWRU is batting .286 and averaging 7.4 runs scored per game, while the pitching staff has tallied a 2.52 team ERA with a .223 opponents' batting average.
Junior second baseman Rocco Maue has been the team's top hitter this season, batting .467 with five home runs, 13 runs batted in and eight stolen bases, while sophomore outfielder Noah Mehrle has hit .362 during the campaign. Other above .300 hitters for CWRU this season include sophomore outfielder Samuel Neal (.326), junior outfield Jacob Pestel (.316) and senior outfielder Nate Glasser (.313). On the mound, junior Mark Gross is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, while sophomore southpaw Casey McConihe has added a 2.63 ERA and a .174 opponents' average over three starts. Out of the bullpen, sophomore Scott Kutschke is 2-0 and senior Liam Killingstad is 2-0 with three saves, with neither having allowed an earned run this year.
Head Coach Matt Englander is in his 12th season with the team, and holds a 268-204-2 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 .654 winning percentage over the last nine seasons. Englander is assisted by Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Andrew Rossman.
Ohio Wesleyan Batting Bishops
Ohio Wesleyan has opened the season with a 3-6 record, including a 1-2 home mark and a 2-4 ledger on neutral sites, and is scheduled to play a single game against Otterbein on Thursday before facing the Spartans over the weekend. The Bishops are coming off a six-game stretch in Florida, during which the team went 2-4, including a 7-1 victory of Nicholas in their last game. Ohio Wesleyan is hitting .284 as a team and scoring 6.2 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 6.95 earned run average and a .350 opponents' batting average.
The team has been led on offense by senior outfielder Michael Blachford (.455, five RBIs) and freshman outfielder Cole Antle (.368, seven RBIs), while the pitching staff has been paced by sophomores Justin Grubb (1-0, 1.00 ERA) and Cody Brown (1-2, 1.80 ERA).
Ohio Wesleyan is coached by Tyler Mott, who is in his 11th season with the team, and has a career record of 224-194. He is assisted by Joe Koepf, Devin Van Winkle, Chris Holly and Dave Koblentz.
The Spartans have gone 6-7 against Ohio Wesleyan since the 2000 season, but have won four of the last six meetings. The teams last faced each other during the 2016 campaign, with the Bishops claiming wins in two games during a three game series.
- The Spartans have won eight consecutive games, marking the longest streak for the team since a stretch of eight-straight games from Saturday, March 25th to Saturday, March 8, 2017. The team's 10-1 start is the squad's best since opening the 2014 campaign with a 10-1 record. The Spartans' .909 winning percentage ranks as the 10th-best among Division III teams this season.
- CWRU's national ranking of 18th in this week's D3baseball.com Top-25 marked the first time the team has appeared in the organization's national poll since the fourth poll of the 2015 campaign.
- The Spartans will be looking for their third-straight win in a home-opening game, after topping Brandeis University 8-7 last year and Baldwin Wallace 6-3 in 2016.
- Rocco Maue was named to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week and selected the UAA Athlete of the Week after batting .450 with five home runs and 11 runs batted in over five games last week. He went nine-for-20 with seven runs, three walks and two steals, slugging 1.200 with a .542 on base percentage. It marked the first time in his career he has earned each honor.
- Maue went five-for-six with eight RBIs in a 12-1 win over Roger Williams last week, and notched one of just five three-home run games in Division III this season in the contest. He currently leads all qualifying UAA players with a .467 average (79th in DIII), five home runs (12th in DIII), a .889 slugging percentage (19th in DIII) and .73 stolen bases per game (46th in DIII).
- CWRU leads all Division III teams with 1.55 double plays turned per game this season, and is 14th in Division III with 17 total double plays. The Spartans lead the UAA with a .962 fielding percentage this year.
- The Spartans' pitching staff ranks 20th in Division III with 7.38 hits allowed per game and 16th with a 2.61 earned run average. CWRU's starting pitchers have combined to go 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA and a .250 opponents' batting average through 11 games this year.
- Southpaws Liam Killingstad and Scott Kutschke have combined to go 4-0 out of the bullpen this year, and have allowed just one unearned run over 20.0 innings of work in relief with 11 hits, 17 strikeouts and six walks. Killingstad leads all UAA pitchers and is 23rd among all Division III pitchers with three saves this year, while Kutschke is one of just 21 Division III pitchers and the only one in the UAA with at least one inning pitched per team game and a 0.00 ERA.
- Noah Mehrle has hit in eight-straight games, the longest hitting streak this season by a CWRU player.
- CWRU has gone 3-0 this season when scoring 10 runs or more, and has won 59-straight games when scoring 10 runs or more, dating back to April 17, 2011.