Case Western Reserve University freshman Nick Denove pitched six shutout innings, and senior third baseman Jacob Kucia recorded his second five-hit effort in the last five games, as the Spartans rolled to a 12-2 win over Western New England University in their penultimate game at the Spartan Southern Classic in Lexington, South Carolina on Saturday.
The win raised the Spartans' record to 7-6 overall, including a 5-3 mark over Spring Break, while Western New England dropped to 2-2 with the loss.
Denove allowed just four hits over his six innings of work, striking out six batters and failing to walk a hitter. The southpaw totaled 94 pitches and picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the year, while lowering his earned run average to 2.38.
Meanwhile, the Spartans' offense churned out 14 hits in the contest and took advantage of six errors by the Golden Bears' defense, scoring at least one run in each of the first six innings. Kucia led the way, going five-for-five at the plate with two doubles, a walk, three runs scored and an RBI, raising his batting average to a team-high .408. Sophomore first baseman Benjamin Stawicki added a two-for-three day with two runs, a double and an RBI, and in now hitting .361 for the campaign.
Sophomore left fielder Jake Ryan got the Spartans off to a quick start in the game with an opposite field solo home run in the top of the first inning, his second home run of the season. CWRU added to its lead in the second when sophomore designated hitter Tre Armstrong scored an unearned run, and then took a 4-0 lead after three innings, when Stawicki drove in a run with a base hit and later scored on an error.
Senior second baseman Rocco Maue and Kucia each plated runs in the fourth to put the team in front 6-0, and CWRU buffered its lead with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth, going ahead 11-0.
Junior Noah Mehrle allowed a run in relief in the seventh, but CWRU answered back with a run in the top of the eighth, as Kucia scored on a double play. Sophomore Tony Smodilla closed out the game, allowing a run over the final two innings on three hits, while striking out a pair.
Western New England starter Bob Hamel, who entered the game with a 0.69 ERA through his first two starts, was touched up by the Spartans for nine total runs (five earned) over five innings, and took the loss to drop to 0-1 for the campaign.
The Spartans will wrap up play at the Spartan Southern Classic on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. against Trinity College.