CWRU Baseball Sweeps Chicago to Conclude Regular Season

CWRU Baseball Sweeps Chicago to Conclude Regular Season

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team ended its regular season on a high note on Sunday, sweeping a doubleheader against the University of Chicago with a 7-6 walk-off victory in the opening game of the day, and following with an 11-4 win in game two of the doubleheader at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio.

The wins give the Spartans a sweep of the three-game series against Chicago, as the team ended the year on a four-game winning streak.  Case Western Reserve stands at 29-10 on the season, while Chicago completed its 2018 campaign with a 26-13 record.

Game 1 – CWRU 7, Chicago 6
The Spartans rallied for a pair of runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, coming from behind to defeat Chicago 7-6 on a walk off double by senior leftfielder Alex Capetillo.

The Spartans trailed by as many as four runs in the game, but rallied late for the victory.  Trailing by a run heading into their final at bat in the ninth, junior third baseman Jacob Kucia was struck out to start the frame but reached on a wild pitch.  Senior Nate Glasser ran for Kucia, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman shortstop Jacob Lott.  After a strikeout for the second out of the frame, junior second baseman Rocco Maue looped the first pitch of his at bat into shallow right field, driving in Glasser to tie the game at 6-6.  Maue would swipe second base, his third steal of the game, and then score the game-winning run on a walk off double into the left-centerfield gap by Capetillo.

The Spartans late rally helped the team forget a slow start to the game.  Doubles by Chicago's Maximiliano Larsen and Josh Parks in the top of the first inning each drove in runs, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead after half an inning.  Chicago added two runs in the second, taking a four-run advantage over the Spartans.

Case Western Reserve answered back in the bottom of the third, sending nine batters to the plate and cutting the Maroons' lead to a run.  The first five batters of the inning reached base, including Maue, who singled with the bases loaded to drive in the first two runs of the game.  An RBI groundout by freshman designated hitter Jake Ryan made it a 4-3 score.

Chicago extended the lead with two more runs in the fourth on Larsen's third double of the game.  CWRU would respond in the fifth, as Maue singled to start the inning, stole second, moved up to third on a fly out, and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Benjamin Stawicki, pulling the Spartans back within a pair of runs, 6-4.

CWRU senior starter Ben Murphy would settle in, retiring the final seven batters he faced in the game, and leaving after five and two-thirds innings.  Junior relief pitcher Corey Brown held Chicago scoreless over the final three and a third innings, and Case Western Reserve pulled within a run in the eighth when senior pinch runner Dan Watson scored from second on a ground ball and an error, setting up the team's ninth-inning heroics.

Maue finished the game three-for-five with two runs scored, three RBIs, and three stolen bases.  Ryan added a two-for-four performance with an RBI and two doubles, and Capetillo went two-for-four with a walk, a double, and the game-winning RBI.

Brown earned the win in relief for CWRU, improving to 4-1 on the year, after allowing just one hit and two walks and striking out a batter.  David Clarke was charged with the loss in relief for Chicago, dropping to 0-1 for the campaign.

Game 2 – CWRU 11, Chicago 4
The momentum from the walk-off win carried into the second game for the Spartans, who jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning, and never looked back, en route to an 11-4 win over Chicago.

Freshman pitcher Matt Levine needed just 81 pitches to navigate eight innings, allowing just two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out one batter.  He improved to 6-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.18, the lowest among CWRU starters this season.

Levine would retire the first nine batters of the game in order, while the CWRU bats went to work in the bottom of the first, scoring six runs.  The first four batters of the game reached, with Stawicki starting the scoring by driving in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded single.  Sophomore first baseman Casey McConihe added an RBI single to make it a 3-0 lead, a wild pitch scored Stawicki with one out, a two-out error plated McConihe, and a single by Lott scored Kucia and extended the lead to 6-0.

Chicago would score a pair runs off Levine in the fourth, but the Spartans responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ryan and a single for Watson.  CWRU buffered its lead further with a run on a McConihe single in the seventh, and two more in the eighth on an RBI triple from sophomore centerfielder Samuel Neal and an RBI groundout by Capetillo.  The Maroons would score a pair of runs against sophomore reliever Tony Yambor in the ninth, but would close out the game to secure the win.

Stawicki finished the game three-for-three with two runs and two RBIs, McConihe went three-for-four with a run and two RBIs, and Watson added a three-for-four performance with an RBI and a stolen base. 

Chandler Yu took the loss for Chicago, dropping to 2-1 on the season.

With their regular season now behind them, the Spartans will await the announcement of the field for the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships.  CWRU is hoping to receive one of the two Pool B bids (awarded to independent teams or teams who are members of a conference without an automatic bid) or one of the 16 Pool C at large bids.  The tournament selections, along with first round matchups and sites, will be announce via a release on late Sunday night or early Monday morning.