With its conference schedule now complete, the 10th-ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team will turn its attention towards a challenging non-conference stretch, beginning with a home contest against the second-ranked College of Wooster on Wednesday, April 25th at 4:00 p.m. at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio.
Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180425_3etp.xml
The Spartans, ranked 10th in both the D3baseball.com and ABCA Top-25 polls last week, will enter Wednesday's game with a 25-6 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in home contests. CWRU is coming off a 2-2 split of their final UAA series of the year at Washington University (Mo.) that allowed the Spartans to secure at least a share of the conference title. The team is batting .288 this season and averaging 6.9 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 3.07 ERA with a .235 opponents' batting average.
Junior second baseman Rocco Maue is batting .383 this season and leads all CWRU hitters with 42 runs scored, 11 home runs and 31 RBIs. Senior designated hitter Alex Capetillo has hit a team-leading .471, and junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski has added a .274 average at the plate with four home runs and 27 runs batted in. The Spartans' rotation consists of junior Mark Gross (4-3, 3.17 ERA), sophomore Casey McConihe (3-1, 2.94 ERA), senior Ben Murphy (4-1, 2.25 ERA) and freshman Matt Levine (5-0, 2.18 ERA). Options out of the bullpen include senior Liam Killingstad (2-1, 2.12 ERA, eight saves), sophomore Scott Kutschke (4-0, 1.61 ERA, one save) and junior Corey Brown (3-0, 2.89 ERA, one save).
Head Coach Matt Englander is in his 12th season with the team, and holds a 283-209-2 career record. The 2014 Mideast Region Coach of the Year and winningest coach in program history has led the team to nine-consecutive seasons of 24 or more victories, three UAA Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances, while notching a .659 winning percentage (246-127-1) over the last nine seasons. Englander is assisted by Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Andrew Rossman.
Wooster Fighting Scots
Wooster will enter Wednesday's game with a 25-4 record, including an 8-0 mark in road games, and ranked second in last week's D3baseball.com Top-25, and fifth in the latest ABCA poll. The Fighting Scots saw their 20-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday, when the team suffered a 9-6 setback against John Carroll University. Wooster has been one of the top hitting teams in Division III this season, batting .371 with 12.1 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 3.51 ERA with a .243 opponents' batting average.
Among the team's leading hitters this season are D3baseball Preseason All-American junior shortstop Michael Wielansky (.402, four home runs, 32 RBI) and sophomore first baseman/ outfielder Dan Harwood (.455, 10 home runs, 50 RBIs). Key starting pitchers include junior Chandler Dippman (4-0, 2.05 ERA), senior Nanak Saran (6-1, 2.52 ERA), junior Brian Murray (4-0, 2.93 ERA) and senior Alex Hammond (5-0, 3.18 ERA). Leaders out of the bullpen for the Fighting Scots have been senior James Usher (17 appearances, 2-1, 5.85 ERA), junior Wyatt Linde (18 appearances, 1-0, 2.76 ERA) and sophomore Max Lackner (12 appearances, 1-0, 1.88 ERA).
The Fighting Scots are under the leadership of longtime head coach Tim Pettorini, who holds a 1,198-439-6 record during his 37-year career with the team, and is the winningest active coach in Division III and fifth among Division III coaches all-time. He is assisted by Barry Craddock, Dan Wyand, Frank Gamble, Ryan Ostendorf, Tyler Schuch and Joe Winge.
The two teams have played each other 23 times since Englander started at CWRU, with Wooster claiming wins in 12 of the 23 games. The Spartans had won six-straight games against the Scots, until suffering a 10-5 loss at Wooster last season. Casey McConihe led the team with three RBIs in the game, going one-for-four with a triple, while Jacob Kucia added two hits in three at bats.
- The 2018 UAA Championship was the third in the program's history for Case Western Reserve. The Spartans can clinch their first outright title should Emory lose one game of their four-game series at New York University over the weekend. CWRU is the only team in the conference to have not lost a series during the first two years of UAA site play, and ended the year with more league wins (23) during the last two years than any other squad.
- As of Monday afternoon, the Spartans were ranked 27th among Division III teams in strength of schedule, according to D3baseball.com, which accounts for both opponents' winning percentage (two-thirds) and opponents' opponents' winning percentage (one third).
- Wednesday's game is scheduled to be the Spartans' fourth this season against a team ranked in the top-five nationally at the time of the contest. The Spartans previous split a pair of games against then-fourth ranked Washington and Jefferson (winning 7-2 and dropping an 8-2 decision), and defeated SUNY Cortland 3-2. CWRU will have two more games scheduled against a top-25 opponent after Wednesday, when the team travels to 15th-ranked Marietta on Sunday.