The 12th-ranked Case Western Reserve University baseball team suffered a pair of losses to 20th-ranked Marietta College on Sunday afternoon in Marietta, Ohio, losing 6-5 in walk-off fashion in the early game, before dropping a 6-3 contest in the second game of the day.
The two losses dropped the Spartans to 25-9 on the season, while Marietta improved to 25-11.
Game 1 – Marietta 6, CWRU 5
Case Western Reserve University overcame a five-run deficit in the first game of the day, but a balk with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning brought across the winning run for Marietta in a 6-5 setback for the Spartans.
After two and a half scoreless innings, Marietta broke through for a pair of runs off CWRU sophomore starter Casey McConihe in the bottom of the third, adding two more in the fourth and one in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. The Spartans would get on the board in the top of the sixth, when freshman shortstop Jacob Lott opened the frame with a walk, and then came around to score on a two-out double by senior left fielder Alex Capetillo.
The Spartans bats came alive in the seventh inning, scoring four runs in the frame to tie the game. Junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski started the inning off with a walk, and freshman designated hitter Benjamin Stawicki followed with a double to put a pair of runners into scoring position. The next batter, senior right fielder Nate Glasser, singled into center to plate Wypsizenski and cut the Pioneers' lead to 5-2. After junior third baseman Jacob Kucia was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Marietta relief pitcher Kordell Antill struck out the next two batters, but hit junior second baseman Rocco Maue to force across another run and keep the inning going. With the bases still loaded and two outs, Capetillo would strike again, singling on a 0-2 pitch to drive in a pair of runs, and knot the score at 5-5.
The score remained at 5-5 through the ninth, as junior left-handed pitcher Corey Brown threw well in relief. In the ninth, a leadoff walk for Marietta and a sacrifice bunt put the game-winning run at second base with one out. Brown would give way to senior Liam Killingstad, who would retire the next batter on a groundball to short, but after a pair of walks, balked before his first pitch to Damian Yenzi, allowing the deciding run to score.
Brown took the loss in the game to fall to 3-1 on the year, despite pitching well in the game. He allowed just the one run on one hit and two walks and struck out three batters in the relief effort. Antill picked up the win for Marietta, improving to 2-1 for the campaign.
Capetillo finished the game two-for-four with three RBIs and a double, while Stawicki was two-for-four with a pair of doubles and a run scored.
Game 2 – Marietta 6, CWRU 3
The Spartans would overcome yet another early deficit in the second game of the day only to see Marietta score late to earn the sweep with a 6-3 victory over CWRU.
Freshman catcher Jake Ryan hit his first career home run in the game, a two-run shot in the seventh, and finished the day two-for-four. The Spartans outhit the Pioneers 11 to 8 in the game, with sophomore outfielder Samuel Neal, junior designated hitter Jacob Pestel and Lott also registering two-hit games in Sunday's late contest.
Marietta would once again take a lead in the game, scoring single runs on two-out hits in each of the fourth and fifth innings. The Spartans mounted a two-out rally of their own in the top of the sixth, when Stawicki doubled and came around to score on a base hit by junior designated hitter Jacob Pestel, cutting the Pioneers' lead to 2-1.
Senior right-handed starting pitcher Ben Murphy pitched into the seventh inning, getting into trouble in the frame with runners at second and third and nobody out after a Marietta single and double. However, Murphy induced a groundout to third and struck out the next batter, before sophomore southpaw Scott Kutschke entered the game to strikeout the final batter of the inning, and keep the deficit at a run.
Keeping the lead at a run proved to be key for the Spartans at the time, as the team would take its first lead of the day in the top of the eighth on Ryan's home run. After a one-out double by Pestel, Ryan sent a ball over the wall in centerfield, giving the Spartans a 3-2 advantage over the Pioneers.
Marietta had a quick response, tying the game in the bottom of the inning after Chris Petrucci walked to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third, and scored on an errant throw on the steal. After two more walks in the inning, Marietta's Trent Castle homered down the left field line, giving the Pioneers a 6-3 lead.
Kutschke took the loss in the game, falling to 4-1 on the year. Marietta's Michael Barnabei earned the victory in relief to improve to 4-0, while Easton Berry picked up his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Despite being swept on Sunday, the Spartans were able to secure sole possession of the 2018 University Athletic Association Championship, after Emory suffered a loss to New York University in the final game of their series. It was the first-ever outright UAA Championship for the Spartans, who had locked up at least a share of the league title following their win against Washington University (Mo.) last Sunday. CWRU had previously shared the UAA Championship in both 2013 (with Washington) and 2014 (with Emory).
Case Western Reserve will be back in action on Tuesday, May 1st at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. First pitch of Tuesday's game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.