The Case Western Reserve University baseball team will make the trip down south to Atlanta, Georgia for a four-game University Athletic Association series against Emory University from April 12th through the 14th. The Spartans and the Eagles will open the weekend slate with a single game on Friday at 3:00 p.m., followed by a doubleheader at noon on Saturday, and conclude with a single game on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190412_ptnr.xml
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190412_yuf8.xml
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190413_0qz6.xml
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/bsb/2018-19/boxscores/20190413_f8mc.xml
The Spartans, who are in the middle of a 10-game road trip, have opened the month of April with five-straight wins, and stand at 17-8 overall and 6-3 in road games. The team received votes in the latest D3baseball.com and ABCA Top-25 polls following its sweep of a four-game series at NYU last weekend, as the squad improved to 4-2 in UAA play, good for third place in the league. CWRU has hit .307 as a team this season and is scoring 7.2 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 2.73 ERA with a .229 opponents' batting average. Top hitters for the Spartans include senior third baseman Jacob Kucia (.402, 1 HR, 18 RBI), junior outfielder Samuel Neal (.338, 3 HR, 19 RBI), sophomore outfielder/ catcher Jake Ryan (.336, 4 HR, 25 RBI), and senior second baseman Rocco Maue (.330, 4 HR, 25 RBI). The CWRU rotation consists of sophomore righty Matt Levine (3-2, 2.37 ERA), freshman lefty Nick Denove (4-2, 2.27 ERA), freshman righty Willem Bouma (3-0, 1.50 ERA) and junior lefty Casey McConihe (1-2, 8.22 ERA), while top bullpen arms include junior lefty Scott Kutschke (4-0, 0.63 ERA, 2 SV), junior righty Paul Slota (1-0, 1.93 ERA), sophomore righty Tony Smodilla (0-0, 2.35 ERA) and senior lefty Corey Brown (1-1, 2.61 ERA, 3 SV).
CWRU Head Coach Matt Englander picked up the 300th win of his career during the Spartans' victory over Baldwin Wallace last Wednesday. Now in his 13th season with the team, Englander has a career record of 304-221-2, good for a .579 winning percentage. CWRU has won at least 24 games each of the last nine seasons, and has made the NCAA Tournament four times and won three UAA Championships under Englander. He is assisted by Nick Callahan, Branden Stucky and Jake Plata.
Emory will begin the week with a 14-11 overall record, including marks of 4-0 in the UAA and 12-7 at home, and are scheduled to host Oglethorpe University on Wednesday, prior to taking on the Spartans. The Eagles have won seven of their last eight games, including two-of-three against 21st-ranked Huntingdon over the weekend. The team is hitting .298 this season and averaging 6.8 runs per game, while the pitching staff has notched a 4.62 ERA with a .277 opponents' average. Senior outfielder Jackson Grayson leads the team with a .397 batting average, while other top hitters for Emory include junior infielder Ryan Adelman (.395, 1 HR, 14 RBI), freshman infielder Zeke Diamond (.371, 18 RBI) and junior outfielder Richard Brereton (.364, 18 RBI). The rotation is anchored by Brereton (2-0, 1.66 ERA), sophomore Jack Moore (2-2, 3.72 ERA) and junior James Robertson (1-2, 3.97 ERA), while top bullpen options include senior Brian Taggett (3.86 ERA) and freshman Joey Bock (4-2, 5.48 ERA, 1 SV).
The Eagles are led by Head Coach Mike Twardoski, who is now in his 20th season with the team and has compiled a career record of 575-229-1. He is assisted by Bobby Perez, Sean West and David Anderson.
CWRU has won five of the last six games against Emory, and has gone 5-3 against the Eagles in the two four-game sets since the start of site play in 2017. The Spartans are 4-4 all-time in games played in Atlanta against Emory, and have recorded a 15-14 overall record against the Eagles since Englander took control of the team in 2007.
Last year, the Spartans won three of four games against Emory in Cleveland, suffering a 5-2 setback in the opening game of the series, before battling back for wins of 12-6, 4-3, and 4-0 to claim a series win. Rocco Maue led the Spartans at the plate, hitting .333 with three home runs, two doubles, three RBIs and five runs scored, while Jacob Kucia added a .357 average (five-for-14) with three RBIs. Highlights from the Spartans' pitchers included a nine-inning complete game shutout from Matt Levine, a seven-inning start and victory for Casey McConihe, and a scoreless three innings out of the bullpen for Corey Brown.
- This weekend's series will pit two of the Division III strength of schedule leaders against each other. According to the measure, which includes both opponents' winning percentage and opponents' opponents' winning percentage and is used as one of the criteria to determine NCAA postseason bids, the Spartans are eighth among all Division III teams in strength of schedule, while the Eagles are ninth.
- CWRU is the top fielding team in the UAA this season, and ranks eighth among all Division III teams with a .973 fielding percentage. The Spartans have turned 19 doubles plays this season, second in the league and 62nd in Division III.
- The Spartans are also ninth in Division III and second in the conference with a 2.73 team ERA this season, while the team's three shutouts are also second in the UAA and 23rd among Division III squads. CWRU is 10th among Division III teams with a 1.19 WHIP.
- Offensively, the Spartans lead all UAA teams with a .443 slugging percentage (62nd in DIII), 271 hits (51st in DIII), 18 home runs (25th in DIII) and 179 runs (69th in DIII), while ranking second in the league with a .307 batting average (86th in DIII) and a .401 on base percentage (92nd in DIII). CWRU players have also been hit by 60 pitches this season, the most in the UAA and fourth among Division III teams.
- 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 outscored their opponents 120-44 in the fourth inning or later of games this year. CWRU is 8-0 when leading after the first inning of a game, and 14-1 when leading after the sixth inning.
- CWRU is 6-0 against left-handed starters, 17-4 when scoring at least three runs in a game, 16-4 when holding its opponents to five runs or less, 8-1 when scoring first in a game, and 12-2 when the team hits at least one home run.
- Scott Kutschke is fourth among qualifying Division III pitchers this season with a 0.63 ERA and sixth with a 0.77 WHIP. He leads all UAA pitchers in both categories, while also pacing the conference with a 9.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio (22nd in DIII) and 0.94 walks allowed per nine innings (33rd in DIII).
- Nick Denove was named the UAA Pitcher of the Week, after throwing a nine inning complete-game shutout in a 6-0 win over NYU on Saturday. He allowed just six hits and two walks in the contest. It was the third-consecutive complete game by Denove, and his third overall this season, which is the most in the UAA and ninth among Division III pitchers in 2019. Denove is also seventh in the conference and 173rd in Division III with a 2.27 ERA this season.
- Casey McConihe will enter the weekend with a nine-game hitting streak, one game behind sophomore shortstop Jacob Lott for the longest streak this season by a CWRU player.
- The Spartans are batting .351 against left-handed pitching this season, led by Jacob Kucia, who is batting .500 (11-for-22) against lefties, and McConihe, who is hitting .636 (seven-for-11) against southpaws.
- Left-handed batters are hitting just .206 against Spartan pitching this season. Denove has limited left-handed batters to a .148 average (four-for-27) and Matt Levine has restricted lefties to a .158 mark (six-for-38).