The Case Western Reserve University baseball team will begin its defense of its 2018 University Athletic Association Championship, when it opens up conference play this weekend with a four-game series against 25th-ranked Washington University (Mo.) at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio. The series is slated to begin with a single game at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29th, followed by a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday, March 30th, and concluding with a single game at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 31st.
As always, games times and dates are subject to change due to weather. Please check back at athletics.case.edu for any updates as they are made available.
Game 1 (Fri. 3 PM) Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190329_bln8.xml
Game 2 (Sat. 12 PM) Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190330_0lvv.xml
Game 3 (Sat. 3 PM) Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190330_j3z4.xml
Game 4 (Sun. 11 AM) Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190330_0lvv.xml
Case Western Reserve, which received votes in the latest D3baseball.com Top-25, will enter the series as winners of six-straight games and eight of their last nine. CWRU has improved to 12-6 on the campaign, including a perfect 6-0 record at Nobby's Ballpark this season. The Spartans are batting .325 as a team this year and averaging 8.1 runs per game, while the team's pitching staff has recorded a 2.94 ERA. Offensively, CWRU has been led by senior third baseman Jacob Kucia (.418, 12 RBI), sophomore first baseman/ outfielder Benjamin Stawicki (.365), sophomore outfielder Jake Ryan (.363, three HRs, 22 RBI), junior outfielder Samuel Neal (.356, three HRs, 19 RBIs) and senior second baseman Rocco Maue (.338, four HRs, 20 RBIs). The team's top starting pitchers include sophomore Matt Levine (2-1, 1.02 ERA), and freshmen Willem Bouma (3-0, 1.42 ERA) and Nick Denove (3-1, 3.03 ERA), while top bullpen options include juniors Scott Kutschke (4-0, 0.42 ERA) and Paul Slota (2.84 ERA), and senior Corey Brown (3.52 ERA, three saves).
CWRU Head Coach Matt Englander will enter the weekend just one win shy of 300 for his collegiate coaching career. Now in his 13th season with the team, Englander has a career record of 299-219-2, good for a .577 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.
WASHINGTON (MO.) BEARS
The Bears, ranked 25th in both the D3baseball.com and ABCA polls this week, will enter the series on a four-game winning streak, and are 13-3-1 overall this year, including a 5-2 record away from home. The team is coming off a three-game sweep of Illinois Wesleyan over the weekend, and an 11-0 midweek victory against Iowa Wesleyan on Tuesday. The Bears are hitting .311 as a team and averaging 6.6 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a combined ERA of 2.11 with an opponents' batting average of .211. Top hitters for Washington include freshman infielder Caleb Durbin (.478, 1 HR, 11 RBI), junior infielder John Brinkman (.400, 17 RBIs), senior infielder Evan Nagel (.349, 8 RBis) and junior outfielder John Ostrander (.333, 14 RBIs). The team's rotation is led by sophomore Ryan Loutos (1-0, 0.83) and senior John Howard (4-0, 1.24), while sophomore Mitchell Black (1-1, 1.27), sophomore Tim Tague (3-0, 2.08) and junior Matt Ashbaugh (3-0, 2.35) have each made an impact this year both in the rotation and out of the bullpen.
The Bears are coach by Pat Bloom, who is now in his fourth season with the team, and has a record of 94-45-1 with the squad. During his 16-year career, which includes a 12-year stint at UW - Stevens Point, he holds a 487-220-1 mark. Bloom is assisted by Adam Rosen and Tyler Schmitt.
The Spartans and the Bears split a four-game series last year in St. Louis, Missouri, with the Bears winning the first two games (6-1 and 4-3), and CWRU coming back to claim wins in each of the last two (9-1 and 4-0). Matt Levine and Casey McConihe each earned wins with scoreless starts, and Scott Kutschke earned a save in the series finale with four scoreless innings in relief. At the plate, Rocco Maue hit .357 and scored four runs, while Benjamin Stawicki added a .333 average.
The two teams have split their series against each other each of the first two years of site play in the UAA. CWRU has gone 15-12 in meetings with Washington since the 2009 campaign.
- Over the first two years of site-play in the UAA, the Spartans have gone 23-9 and recorded a .719 winning percentage, leading all conference teams in both categories. Washington is second in the league in winning percentage, going 18-8 for a .692 mark, while Emory is second in the UAA in victories with a 20-12 record and a .625 winning percentage. Following the top-three teams are NYU with a 10-18 mark (.357) and Brandeis with a 3-27 ledger (.100).
- CWRU is 5-0 this season when scoring 10 runs or more in a game, and has won 71-straight games when scoring 10 runs or more, dating back to April 17, 2011.
- The Spartans have won 10-straight games at Nobby's Ballpark, including their final four home contests in 2018, and all six at home this season. CWRU is 37-9 at Nobby's Ballpark over the last four seasons, good for a .804 winning percentage.
- Rocco Maue was named the second baseman on the D3baseball.com Team of the Week for the second time in his career this week, while also earning selection as the UAA Hitter of the Week for the fourth time in his career. He was eight-for-16 at the plate with six runs, while also collecting a pair of triples, walking twice, stealing two bases on as many attempts, registering a pair of sacrifice flies, and was hit by a pitch as well during the weekend. Over the four games, he slugged 1.313, while reaching base at a .524 clip, while also playing flawless defense at second base.
- In addition, Matt Levine was named the UAA Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season and the fifth time over his career, after allowing just four hits and one walk, while striking out five batters during the game, and needing just 90 pitches to navigate through his seven innings of work.
- CWRU players have been hit by 52 pitches this season, the second-highest total among Division III teams, and just two behind Misericordia for the DIII lead. Samuel Neal has been hit by nine pitches, the sixth-most among Division III players.
- Scott Kutschke is 15th among Division III players and leads the UAA with a 0.42 ERA, while Levine is 50th in DIII with a 1.02 ERA, and Willem Bouma is 88th with a 1.42 ERA. Kutschke also ranks 18th in Division III and is tied for the UAA lead with four wins this year. Corey Brown is second in the UAA and 28th in Division III with three saves. Levine leads the UAA and is 47th among DIII players with just 4.84 hits allowed per nine innings.
- Maue's four home runs are tied for the UAA lead and 26th among Division III players, while his five sacrifice flies also lead the UAA and are fourth among DIII players.
- Jake Ryan ranks 36th in DIII with eight doubles, 38th with 50 total bases and 43rd with 22 RBIs, leading the conference in all three categories.
- CWRU is batting .368 as a team against left handed pitching this season (63-of-171), led by Jacob Kucia, who is hitting .474 (nine-for-19) against southpaws. Meanwhile, left-handed hitters are batting just .213 against Spartan pitching, with Levine holding lefties to a .115 average (three-for-26).