The Case Western Reserve University baseball team will conclude its 2018 regular season this weekend with three games against the University of Chicago. The Spartans will host a doubleheader against the Maroons starting at noon on Saturday, May 12th, and will then play a single game starting at noon on Sunday, May 13th to end the regular season.
The Spartans will be recognizing the team's six graduating players – infielder/outfielder Alex Capetillo, outfielder Nate Glasser, pitcher Liam Killingstad, pitcher Ben Murphy, infielder Danny Souza and outfielder Dan Watson – with a special 'Senior Day' ceremony prior to the start of the first game on Saturday. Together, the group has gone 100-56 overall during their four years, good for a .641 winning percentage, including a 32-16 record in the University Athletic Association. The team qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships during the 2016 season, and this year, the squad has recorded one of its best seasons in the program's history, going 26-10, winning its first outright UAA Championship ever and third total, and ranking as high as 10th in Division III.
Game 1 (Sat. 12:00 PM) - http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180512_8tzm.xml
Game 2 (Sat. 3:00 PM) - http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180512_jh4l.xml
Game 3 (Sun. 12:00 PM) - http://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180513_wf5e.xml
Case Western Reserve will head into the final weekend of the season with an overall record of 26-10, including an 8-4 mark in home games. The Spartans, who received votes in the latest D3baseball.com Top-25 and are ranked 27th in the ABCA/ Collegiate Baseball Poll, are coming off a 6-5 victory against John Carroll last Saturday, which put an end to a four-game losing streak. The team is hitting .286 and averaging 6.7 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 3.59 earned run average with a .247 opponents' batting average.
Junior second baseman Rocco Maue is batting .349 this season and leads all CWRU hitters with 47 runs scored, 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. Senior designated hitter Alex Capetillo has hit a team-leading .489 with three home runs and 21 runs batted in, and junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski has added a .256 average at the plate with four home runs and 29 runs batted in. The Spartans' rotation consists of junior Mark Gross (5-4, 4.04 ERA), sophomore Casey McConihe (3-1, 3.49 ERA), senior Ben Murphy (4-1, 2.72 ERA) and freshman Matt Levine (5-1, 3.35 ERA). Options out of the bullpen include senior Liam Killingstad (2-1, 2.08 ERA, eight saves), sophomore Scott Kutschke (4-1, 3.34 ERA, one save) and junior Corey Brown (3-1, 3.00 ERA, two saves).
Head Coach Matt Englander is in his 12th season with the team, and holds a 284-213-2 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 .653 winning percentage (247-131-1) over the last nine seasons. Englander is assisted by Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Andrew Rossman.
Chicago will also enter this weekend's games with a 26-10 record, and stands at 12-6 in road contests. The Maroons have won four-straight games, and have victories in nine of their last 10 contests. The team is batting .321 with 8.25 runs scored per game, while the pitching staff has a 3.69 earned run average with a .248 opponents' batting average.
Leading hitters for the Maroons include junior outfielder Connor Hickey (.382, one home run, 23 RBIs, 17 stolen bases), sophomore infielder/ catcher Payton Jancsy (.374, 33 RBIs), junior infielder/ catcher Brady Sarkon (.359, three home runs, 32 RBIs) and junior outfielder Josh Parks (.328, five home runs, 31 RBIs). Chicago's rotation includes junior Brenton Villasenor (4-3, 3.10 ERA), sophomore Jacob Petersen (8-2, 3.60 ERA), and junior Joe Liberman (4-2, 5.74 ERA). Bullpen options for the Maroons this season have been freshman David Clarke (0-0, 0.50 ERA, seven saves), junior Ravi Bakhai (2-0, 1.33 ERA, two saves), sophomore Patrick Murphy (0-0, 4.50 ERA), and freshman Zach Morochnik (4-2, 4.56 ERA).
The Maroons are under the leadership of fourth-year head coach John Fitzgerald, who has gone 84-64 during his time with the team, and 298-262-1 during his 14-year career, which includes stops at North Central College and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
The Spartans have gone 6-14 against the Maroons since the 2001 season, but have faced each other just four times since 2009. Each of those four meetings came during a series in Cleveland last year, which CWRU swept against Chicago. Tyler Wypiszenski hit .538 (seven-for-13) with three doubles, five runs and two RBIs during the series last year, while Jacob Kucia added a .400 average (six-for-15) and Casey McConihe hit a home run and drove in six runs. On the mound, Corey Brown pitched 3.1 scoreless innings over two appearances, earning a win and a save.
- Following this weekend's games, the Spartans will await the release of the field for the NCAA Division III Championships, to be announced via a release on NCAA.com late Sunday night into Monday morning. Regional sites and matchups will also be revealed in the release. All information will be posted to athletics.case.edu as it is made available as well.
- The Spartans are eligible to receive one of the two Pool B bids (awarded to teams which are either independent or members of a conference without an automatic bid) or 16 Pool C at-large bids. CWRU has made the NCAA Championships four times in its history, including back-to-back regional runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2014.
- As of Tuesday morning, the Spartans were ranked 30th among Division III teams in strength of schedule, which is one of the primary criteria for selection into the NCAA Championships. The strength of schedule includes both opponents' winning percentage and opponents' opponents' winning percentage.
- Alex Capetillo was named the UAA Hitter of the Week, after batting .750 (six-for-eight) with five runs, a double, two home runs, four RBIs, a walk and two stolen bases on as many attempts over two games against John Carroll University last week. It was his second UAA Hitter of the Week Award this season.
- Rocco Maue became the sixth player in program history to earn a UAA Player of the Year award, as announced by the conference on Wednesday. He started all 16 UAA games for CWRU, batting .338 with a league-best 20 runs scored and six home runs in conference games.
- The CWRU Coaching Staff was named the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year, marking the first time the staff has won the award since it was instituted in 2015.
- Maue was also named to the All-UAA First Team, while Alex Capetillo, Ben Murphy, Liam Killingstad and Matt Levine were named to the All-UAA Second Team. It was the first career All-UAA selection for all five players.
- CWRU has gone 8-0 this season when scoring 10 runs or more in a game, and has won 64-straight games when scoring 10 runs or more, dating back to April 17, 2011.
- Freshman Benjamin Stawicki has a seven-game hitting streak, the longest active streak by a Spartan player, and the fourth-longest on the team this season. Stawicki is batting .393 (11-for-28) with four doubles during the hitting streak.
- Capetillo has two or more hits in 13 of his last 19 games, and his 14 multiple-hit games this season are tied with Maue for the team lead. He has hit .513 (41-of-80) with 20 runs, nine doubles, three home runs and 18 RBIs over his last 19 games.
- Sophomore centerfielder Samuel Neal and Maue are the only two CWRU players to have started all 36 games for CWRU this season. The two have hit in the same two spots in the lineup (Neal first and Maue second) through all 36 games. Neal is the only CWRU player to have started all 36 games at the same position (centerfield).
- CWRU is sixth among Division III teams with 1.08 double plays turned per game this season, while the team's 39 total double plays are 13th among Division III squads this season.
- The Spartans' pitching staff is 31st among DIII teams and leads the UAA with 8.32 hits allowed per nine innings.
- Maue leads the UAA with 11 home runs (11th in DIII) and 0.31 home runs per game (16th in DIII), while ranking second in the conference with 47 runs (48th in DIII) and 1.31 runs per game (35th in DIII).
- Corey Brown is 23rd among qualifying Division III pitchers and leads the UAA with 5.75 hits allowed per nine innings.
- Killingstad is 17th in Division III and leads the UAA with eight saves this season. He is one save away from the program's single-season record (set by Jose Vega in 2012). His 14 career saves are the second-most in program history, and four behind Dan Sondag's (2012-15) career record of 18 saves.