The Case Western Reserve University baseball team opened their four-game set with Emory University with a split of a doubleheader on Friday afternoon, topping the Eagles 4-1 in the opening game, and falling 8-7 in the late contest.
With the split, the Spartans now stand at 18-9 on the season, including a 5-3 record in the University Athletic Association. Emory is now 16-12 overall with a 5-1 UAA mark.
Game 1: CWRU 4, Emory 1
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Levine and junior left-handed pitcher Scott Kutschke combined to allow just one run on five hits, as the Spartans claimed a 4-1 win in the opening game of the series.
Levine picked up the win to improve to 4-2 on the campaign. He held the Eagles to one run on just four hits and a walk over five and a third innings in the contest, while striking out one batter in a 74-pitch effort. Levine lowered his ERA to 2.30 following Friday's effort.
Kutschke came out of the bullpen to pitch the final three and two-thirds scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to a team-best 0.56 for the season.
Sophomore catcher Jake Ryan added a two-for-five game at the plate with a double, two runs scored and an RBI, and picked up his team-leading fifth home run of the campaign. Junior outfielder Noah Mehrle added a two-for-four performance with a double and a run scored, as the Spartans out-hit the Eagles 8-5 in the first contest of Friday's twin bill.
The bottom of the Spartans' order generated the first run of the game in the third inning, after Mehrle doubled to lead off the frame, moved to third base on a fly out, and then scored on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore shortstop Jacob Lott. In the top of the fourth, Ryan started the inning off with a double, and eventually came around to score on a two-out single to shortstop by sophomore designated hitter Benjamin Stawicki, extending CWRU's lead to 2-0.
CWRU added to its lead in the top of the fifth inning, scoring a run on a bases-loaded two out walk to senior third baseman Jacob Kucia to put the Spartans' ahead 3-0.
Emory threatened in the bottom of the fifth, after the first two batters reached and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, but Levine would work around trouble, getting out of the frame on a pair of fly outs to left field, and extending his scoreless inning streak against Emory to 14 innings. The streak would come to a close in the bottom of the sixth, as a walk, a wild pitch, and a double to start the inning cut the Spartans' lead to 3-1. However, Levine would retire the lead runner on a comebacker, and Kutschke ended the inning by inducing a double play ground ball.
Ryan pushed the Spartans' advantage back to three with a solo home run to left field to lead off the top of the seventh, giving Kutschke some additional breathing room. He closed out the game, allowing just one hit over the next three innings, striking out three batters and holding the Eagles scoreless, as he picked up his third save of the season, each of which has come over the last five games.
Emory starting pitcher James Robertson took the loss, falling to 1-3 on the season with the setback.
Game 2: Emory 8, CWRU 7
A late Spartan rally evened the score heading into the bottom of the eighth inning of the second game, but the Eagles were ultimately able to pull out an 8-7 victory to even the series at a game apiece.
Back-to-back doubles with one out by Ryan and Kucia in the top of the first inning gave the Spartans an early 1-0 lead. The Spartans remained up by a run until the top of the sixth, when junior first baseman Casey McConihe led the frame off with a walk, moved up to second on a ground out, and scored on a two-out single to centerfield by freshman designated hitter Nathan Shapiro.
Freshman southpaw Nick Denove shutout the Eagles through the first five innings, but his 14-inning streak of scoreless baseball came to a close in the sixth, as Emory scored three in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead in the game. CWRU responded, evening the score at 3-3 on a two-out RBI single by senior outfielder Jacob Pestel, but the Eagles regained the lead with a four-run bottom of the seventh.
The Spartans would have one final answer in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kucia was hit by a pitch, forcing across a run and pulling the Spartans back within three runs. The next batter, Stawicki, delivered a pinch-hit bases clearing double, tying the game at 7-7 heading into the bottom of the eighth. However, the Eagles would score a run in the eighth, and the Spartans were retired in order in the ninth to end the game.
Shapiro led the Spartans with a three-for-five game, including a double and an RBI, while Maue added a pair of hits for the Spartans in four at bats.
Senior reliever Corey Brown took the loss to drop to 1-2 on the year. Jake Brodsky picked up the win in relief for Emory, raising his season record to 5-2.
The Spartans and the Eagles are scheduled to conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 13th starting at 12:00 p.m. at Chappell Park in Atlanta.