2018 CWRU Baseball Season Recap

2018 CWRU Baseball Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team won the 2018 University Athletic Association Championship, claiming sole possession of the league title for the first time in program history, while finishing the season with a 29-10 overall record.

The Spartans were ranked as high as ninth in the American Baseball Coaches Association Top-25 (on April 10) and 10th in the D3baseball.com poll (on April 15) during the season.  Each ranking marked the highest in program history in the respective polls.  CWRU finished the year receiving a vote in the final ABCA poll of the season.

The Spartans completed league play with a 12-4 record, finishing a game ahead of second-place Emory University and two games ahead of Washington University (Mo.) to claim the team's third UAA Championship overall, and the first outright title.  Through the first two years of UAA site play, CWRU leads all league teams with a .718 winning percentage and a 23-9 record, three more victories than the next closest squad.

Case Western Reserve was led by junior second baseman Rocco Maue, who had a breakthrough season in 2018.  He set a program record with 11 home runs during the campaign, hitting a pair in the second game of a doubleheader against Brandeis University on April seventh to tie and break the record of nine long balls, originally set by former Spartan Steve Rosiek in 1986. Maue, who hit .358 during the campaign and led the team with 52 runs scored, 57 hits, 12 doubles, 35 RBIs and 26 stolen bases on 27 attempts, went on to earn a spot on the D3baseball.com All-America First Team and the ABCA/ Rawlings All-America Third Team, while also claiming UAA Position Player of the Year honors.

Maue became the sixth CWRU player ever to be named the UAA Player of the Year, the fifth D3baseball.com All-American in CWRU history, and the third ABCA All-American.  Earlier in the year, he was selected to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week, after hitting three home runs and driving in eight runs with a five-for-six game against Roger Williams.

Head Coach Matt Englander and his staff, consisting of assistant coaches Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Andrew Rossman, were selected as the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year, marking the first time in program history CWRU coaches have received the conference's honor.  In addition to Maue claiming an All-UAA First Team honor, senior designated hitter/ outfielder Alex Capetillo, senior pitcher Liam Killingstad, freshman pitcher Matt Levine and senior pitcher Ben Murphy were each selected to the all-conference second team.

The Spartans started off their season strong, winning 11 of their first 12 contests.  Included in that stretch were wins over then fourth-ranked Washington and Jefferson and fifth-ranked SUNY Cortland, and a perfect 7-0 record during the team's Spring Break trip to Lexington, South Carolina.  After opening UAA play with a loss, the Spartans would win seven in a row and 10 of their next 11, including a series sweep at Brandeis.  CWRU would lock up the UAA Championship with a split at Washington to end their conference schedule.

After a four-game losing streak, the Spartans closed the 2018 regular season with a four-game winning streak, including a win over John Carroll and a three-game sweep over Chicago.  The highlight of the series came in the middle game, as CWRU overcame a four-run deficit, eventually winning the game in the ninth on a two-out walk-off double by Capetillo.

However, despite the team's .744 winning percentage against a schedule that ranked 23rd among Division III teams in 2018, Case Western Reserve did not receive a bid to the NCAA Division III Championship field.

The Spartans were led during the campaign by a solid starting rotation, which included junior Mark Gross (6-3, 3.64 ERA), Murphy (4-1, 3.25 ERA), sophomore Casey McConihe (3-1, 3.49 ERA) and Levine (6-1, 3.18 ERA).  Killingstad made 13 appearances out of the bullpen during the year, recording eight saves (second in CWRU history and one shy of the program record) and holding opponents to a program-record .119 batting average, while junior Corey Brown (12 appearances, 4-1, 2.75 ERA) and sophomore Scott Kutschke (14 appearances, 4-1, 3.23 ERA) helped to create a formidable corps of left-handed relief pitchers.

In addition to Maue's success at the plate, Capetillo would end the season batting a team-leading .471, the best mark by a Spartan in over 20 years and second only in program history to Scott Feskanich's .519 batting average in 1997.  Shortstop Jacob Lott (.287, two HRs, 23 RBIs) added a successful freshman campaign, and junior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski added some pop at the plate, hitting .255 with four home runs and 31 RBIs.  Other standout offensive players during the year included sophomore center fielder Samuel Neal (.271, 33 runs), and senior outfielder Nate Glasser (.242, 29 runs, 20 stolen bases on 20 attempts).

In addition to their success on the field, the Spartans were also recognized with the ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award for their success in the classroom.  Maue was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America First Team, and 13 Spartans - Glasser, Gross, Killingstad, Kutschke, Maue, sophomore outfielder Noah Mehrle, Murphy, junior utility player Mike Najmowicz, sophomore outfielder Chris Shorter, sophomore pitcher Paul Slota, sophomore pitcher Matthew Speitel, Wypiszenski, and sophomore pitcher Tony Yambor each claimed UAA All-Academic recognition.

Case Western Reserve players won the following awards during the 2018 season:

 

D3baseball.com All-America

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Second Base

First Team

 

ABCA/ Rawlings All-America

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Second Base

Third Team

 

D3baseball.com All-Mideast Region

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Second Base

First Team

 

ABCA/ Rawlings All-Mideast Region

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Second Base

First Team

 

UAA Position Player of the Year

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

 

UAA Coaching Staff of the Year

Matt Englander

Head Coach

Nick Callahan

Assistant Coach

Branden Stucky

Assistant Coach

Andrew Rossman

Assistant Coach

 

All-UAA

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Infield

First Team

Alex Capetillo

Cincinnati, Ohio / Turpin

Senior

Designated Hitter

Second Team

Liam Killingstad

Annapolis, Md. / Key School

Senior

Pitcher

Second Team

Matt Levine

Boca Raton, Fla. / Olympic Heights Community

Freshman

Pitcher

Second Team

Ben Murphy

Jeromesville, Fla. / Wooster

Senior

Pitcher

Second Team

 

D3baseball.com Team of the Week

Liam Killingstad

Annapolis, Md. / Key School

Senior

Relief Pitcher

Mar. 13

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Second Base

Mar. 20

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Hitter

Mar. 19, Apr. 2, May 14

Mark Gross

Butler, Pa. / Butler Senior Area

Junior

Pitcher

Mar. 12, Mar. 26

Matt Levine

Boca Raton, Fla. / Olympic Heights Community

Freshman

Pitcher

Apr. 2, May14

Alex Capetillo

Cincinnati, Ohio / Turpin

Senior

Hitter

Apr. 9, May 7

Scott Kutschke

Morton Grove, Ill. / Notre Dame Prep

Sophomore

Pitcher

Apr. 16

Ben Murphy

Jeromesville, Fla. / Wooster

Senior

Pitcher

Apr. 9

Tyler Wypiszenski

Lemont, Ill. / Nequa Valley

Junior

Hitter

Mar. 26

 

Google Cloud Academic All-America

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Infield

First Team

 

Google Cloud Academic All-District

Rocco Maue

Moon Township, Pa. / Moon Area

Junior

Infield

 

The following were the CWRU team leaders in 2018:

 

Batting Average

Alex Capetillo

.471

Runs

Rocco Maue

52

Hits

Rocco Maue

57

Doubles

Rocco Maue

12

Triples

Tyler Wypiszenski

5

Home Runs

Rocco Maue

11

RBIs

Rocco Maue

35

Slugging %

Alex Capetillo

.673

On Base %

Alex Capetillo

.517

Stolen Bases

Rocco Maue

26

 

Wins

Mark Gross & Matt Levine

6

ERA (min 1.0 IP/ team game)

Corey Brown

2.75

Saves

Liam Killingstad

8

Strikeouts

Mark Gross

44

Opponents' Average

Liam Killingstad

.119