Following a 6-3 record over Spring Break, the Case Western Reserve University baseball team will return home to Cleveland, Ohio this week to begin an eight-game home stand to end the month, starting with doubleheaders against SUNY Fredonia on Saturday, March 23rd and Marietta College on Sunday, March 24th. The first pitch for both days is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
vs. Fredonia (March 23rd | 12:00 p.m.)
Game 1 stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190323_aavd.xml
Game 2 stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190323_lh7t.xml
vs. Marietta (March 24th | 12:00 p.m.)
Game 1 stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190324_b5px.xml
Game 2 stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190324_usoc.xml
The Spartans are winners of back-to-back contests and eight of their last 11 games overall, and will enter the weekend with an 8-6 overall record, including a 2-0 mark at home. CWRU is hitting .311 as a team this year and averaging 7.9 runs per game, while the pitching staff has recorded a 3.10 earned run average and a .240 opponents' batting average. Senior third baseman Jacob Kucia leads the team with a .415 batting average this season, while sophomore first baseman Benjamin Stawicki is hitting .395, and sophomore outfielder/ catcher Jake Ryan holds a .344 batting average with three home runs and 18 runs batted in. Top pitchers for the Spartans this season including junior southpaw Scott Kutschke (3-0, 0.54 ERA), sophomore righty Matt Levine (1-1, 1.27 ERA), freshman lefty Nick Denove (2-1, 2.38 ERA) and freshman right-handed pitcher Willem Bouma (2-0, 0.69 ERA).
The Spartans are led by Head Coach Matt Englander, who is now in his 13th season with the team and has a career record of 295-219-2, good for a .574 winning percentage. CWRU has won at least 24 games each of the last nine seasons, and has made the NCAA Tournament three times and won three UAA Championships under Englander. He is assisted by Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Jake Plata.
FREDONIA BLUE DEVILS
The Blue Devils will enter Saturday's game with a 9-5 overall record (with all 14 of their games having being played on a neutral site), and have won three-straight contests after sweeping a conference series against SUNY New Paltz. The team is hitting .316 and averaging 8.5 runs per game, while allowing a .271 opponents' batting average and pitching to a 4.22 ERA. Senior outfielder Kevin Yirinec leads the team with a .400 average, four home runs and 21 runs batted in, and junior first baseman William Clifford is hitting .385 with 15 RBIs. Top pitchers for the Blue Devils include senior Luke Kuczewski (3-0, 1.33 ERA), sophomore Nick Ciraolo (2-0, 1.76 ERA) and sophomore Sam Cestra (2-0, 2.60 ERA)
Saturday's games will mark the first-ever meeting between the Spartans and the Blue Devils.
Fredonia is led by Head Coach Matt Palisin, who is now in his 17th season at the team's helm. The 1994 graduate of Penn State – Behrend has gone 252-325 during his time with the Blue Devils, and holds a career record of 276-392, which includes a three-year stretch with Hilbert. Palisin is assisted by Danny Goodbread.
Marietta has begun its season with a 4-7 overall record, and will have doubleheaders at home against LaRoche on Wednesday and at Baldwin Wallace on Saturday, before facing the Spartans on Sunday. The team has lost three-straight games entering the week, and is now 0-2 in road games this season. The Pioneers are hitting .265 this season and averaging 6.5 runs per game, while pitching to a team ERA of 6.07 with a .310 opponents' batting average. Damian Yenzi leads the offense with a .413 batting average and 11 RBIs, and Brady Cottom is adding a .353 average with eight RBIs. On the mound, Jared Strickler is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA and Isaac Danford has come out of the bullpen to record a 2.25 ERA with two saves through four appearances.
Marietta is coached by Brian Brewer, a 1993 graduate of the program, who has gone 577-304-1 during his 20-year career, which includes a 498-219-1 mark in 16 years with the Pioneers. He is assisted by Chad Langley, Chris Stout, Mark Walton and Jacob Baker.
The Spartans will be looking to turn around a three-game losing streak to the Pioneers, including a doubleheader sweep in Marietta last year, losing 6-5 in the early contest and 6-3 in the late affair. Benjamin Stawicki had three hits over the two games, and Jake Ryan hit the first home run of his career and drove in two runs for the Spartans in the late contest.
- The Spartans are batting .374 (49-for-131) against left-handed pitching this season, led by Jacob Kucia, who holds a .500 average (seven-for-14) against lefties. Meanwhile, CWRU pitchers are holding opposing left-handed hitters to a .197 batting average (14-of-71).
- Junior outfielder Samuel Neal was named the UAA Hitter of the Week last week, after hitting .414 (12-for-29) over eight games last week for the Spartans. He led the team with 12 runs scored, three doubles, two home runs, 12 RBIs and three stolen bases during the week, totaling a .724 slugging percentage and a .553 on base percentage. It was the first UAA Athlete of the Week honor of his career.
- CWRU is 4-0 this season when scoring 10 runs or more in a game, and has won 70-straight games when scoring 10 runs or more, dating back to April 17, 2011.
- The Spartans are 6-2 in games where they have hit a home run this season, including a perfect 3-0 mark when they hit two or more home runs in a contest.
- The middle three innings of baseball games have been the most productive for CWRU this season, as the team has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 58-15 during the fourth, fifth and sixth innings of ballgames. Included in that is a 32-4 edge in runs scored in the fourth inning.
- Sophomore shortstop Jacob Lott and Neal each have seven-game hitting streaks, the longest this season by a CWRU player. Both freshman outfielder Cole Jarrett and Benjamin Stawicki will enter the weekend with five-game hitting streaks.
- Stawicki leads the team this season with six multiple hit games, while Jake Ryan has a team-high five multiple RBI games.
- CWRU batters have been hit by 41 pitches this season, second among Division III teams, behind only Misericordia's 46.
- The Spartans currently lead all UAA teams in double plays (13, 21st in DIII), doubles (27, 75th in DIII), fielding percentage (.971, 38th in DIII), hits (158, 49th in DIII) and runs (110, 46th in DIII).
- Scott Kutschke is 25th among Division III players in wins (3), 44th in WHIP (0.72) and 51st in earned run average (0.54). His ERA also leads the conference.
- Jake Ryan leads all UAA players with 18 RBIs (50th among DIII players) and is tied for second in the league and 39th in Division III with three home runs, along with teammate Samuel Neal.