CWRU Baseball Drops Series-Opener to Brandeis 5-3

CWRU Baseball Drops Series-Opener to Brandeis 5-3

The Case Western Reserve University struggled to string together hits on Friday afternoon in a 5-3 loss to Brandeis University to begin a four-game series at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio.

The loss dropped the Spartans to 20-12 overall on the season, including a 5-6 mark in the University Athletic Association.  Brandeis raised its record to 14-17 on the year with a 2-11 UAA ledger.

Brandeis starter Greg Tobin stymied the Spartans' bats, holding Case Western Reserve to just two hits over his seven innings of work.  After Brandeis scored a run in the first inning, the Spartans evened the score without a hit in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases on a walk and two hit batters, and scoring on a sacrifice fly by senior Tyler Wypiszenski.

However, the Spartans would go until the bottom of the fifth until a base hit up the middle by sophomore shortstop Jacob Lott broke up Tobin's no hitter.  By that point, the Judges had scored five runs off of CWRU sophomore starting pitcher Matt Levine to take a 5-1 lead.

Lott eventually came around to score in the fifth inning on an RBI groundout by senior second baseman Rocco Maue, and sophomore right-handed pitcher Tony Smodilla would keep the Spartans in the game with four scoreless innings of relief out of the bullpen.  Smodilla one hit and a walk in his outing, while striking out three Brandeis batters.

Case Western Reserve threatened in the eighth, with a leadoff walk to Maue chasing Tobin from the game after 128 pitches, and an infield single for senior third baseman Jacob Kucia putting two on with nobody out.  However, Brandeis reliever Marc Maestri got a pop out and a line drive double play to get out of the inning unscored upon.

The Spartans attempted to rally again in the bottom of the ninth, when a double by senior right fielder Jacob Pestel and a base hit from Lott put runners on the corners with one out and brought the tying run to the plate.  Junior outfielder Samuel Neal grounded into a fielder's choice, allowing Pestel to score, but also accounting for the second out of the inning, and Maestri induced a pop out to end the contest and secure his third save of the year.

Tobin picked up the win for Brandeis, improving to 4-3 on the year, while Levine suffered the loss to drop to 5-3.

The Spartans and the Judges will continue their series on Saturday, April 27th with a doubleheader starting at 12:00 p.m.  Saturday will also mark 'Senior Day' for the Spartans, who will recognize their six graduating senior players with a ceremony prior to the start of the first game of the doubleheader.