The Case Western Reserve University baseball team opened play at the Spartan Southern Classic in Lexington, South Carolina with a pair of losses to Roger Williams College on Tuesday, falling 9-8 in the first game and 11-8 in the second contest.
The losses dropped the Spartans to 4-5 on the year, while the Hawks improved to 3-1 for the campaign with the two wins.
Game 1: Roger Williams 9, CWRU 8
The Spartans overcame a 6-2 deficit in the first game of the day, but Roger Williams claimed a victory with a two-run walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Case Western Reserve scored runs in the top of the second on an RBI double by junior centerfielder Samuel Neal that scored junior first baseman Noah Mehrle, and in the fifth on a RBI groundout by senior third baseman Jacob Kucia that plated Neal, but the Hawks scored six runs off senior starter Mark Gross to take a 6-2 lead heading into the sixth inning.
The Spartans comeback began in the sixth, cutting the deficit to a run on RBI singles by sophomore shortstop Jacob Lott and sophomore left fielder Jake Ryan, and an error that allowed sophomore designated hitter Tre Armstrong to cross the plate. In the seventh, Lott was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game, and senior second baseman Rocco Maue singled in a pair of runs to put the Spartans ahead for the first time in the game, 8-6.
Junior pitcher Paul Slota pitched 3.2 innings in relief, striking out six batters and holding Roger Williams off the board until the bottom of the eighth, when the Hawks picked up a run on a wild pitch. In the ninth, a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out for Roger Williams against CWRU senior reliever Corey Brown, and Brandon Jenkins ended the game with a walk off double that scored the tying and go-ahead runs.
The Spartans totaled 13 hits in the game, led by Neal, who finished the contest three-for-five with two runs, a double, and an RBI. Freshman right fielder Cole Jarrett and Armstrong each had two hits in the game as well.
Brown took the loss for the Spartans, falling to 0-1 on the year, while Craig Demers earned the win in relief for Roger Williams, improving to 1-0.
Game 2: Roger Williams 11, CWRU 8
The Spartans fell behind early in the second game and could not bounce back, falling 11-8 to Roger Williams in the late affair.
The Hawks scored four in the first inning of the game off junior starter Casey McConihe, and added three in the second and one in the third. Maue led off the game with a solo home run for the Spartans, his first of the year, and drove in another run with a base hit in the second, but CWRU still trailed 9-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Spartans closed the gap slightly in the fifth with RBI singles from Mehrle and Neal. However, the Hawks responded with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth against sophomore reliever Tony Smodilla to go ahead 11-5.
After allowing the two runs in his first inning of work, Smodilla held Roger Williams scoreless over the next three. The Spartans trimmed the gap to three runs in the ninth, as Mehrle drove in a pair with a base hit and a third run scored on an error, but could not get any closer.
Mehrle finished the game two-for-three with three RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. Maue added a three-for-five day with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.
McConihe took the loss, falling to 0-2 for the campaign, while Anthony Sapienza earned the win to raise his record to 1-0, and Ryan Havunen pitched the final four innings to pick up his first save of the year.
The Spartans and the Hawks will play again on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at Lexington County Stadium.