Case Western Reserve University freshman Nick Denove recorded his second complete-game shutout of the season to guide the Spartans to a 6-0 win in the opening game of a doubleheader against Brandeis University on Saturday afternoon, before CWRU fell 7-5 in the second game of the twin bill at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio.
The split of the doubleheader moves the Spartans' season record to 21-13 overall with a 6-7 record in the University Athletic Association. Brandeis now stands at 15-18 overall with a 3-12 conference record.
Saturday also marked 'Senior Day' for the Spartans, who recognized the team's six graduating players – pitchers Corey Brown and Mark Gross, infielders Jacob Kucia and Rocco Maue, outfielder Jacob Pestel and catcher Tyler Wypiszenski – with a ceremony prior to the start of the first game. The group is one of the most accomplished classes in the program's history, finishing the day with a four-year record of 100-54, including a UAA Championship in 2018 and an NCAA postseason berth in 2016.
Game 1: CWRU 6, Brandeis 0
Denove turned in another stellar pitching effort, leading the Spartans to a win in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader.
The freshman southpaw allowed just five hits in the game and did not walk a batter, while striking out six in the 114-pitch effort. He did not allow a Brandeis runner past second base in the contest, while picking up the victory to improve to 6-2 on the year and lowered his ERA to 2.12.
The shutout was his second of the season, both of which have come during conference play. It was his fourth complete game of the campaign, three of which have been against UAA opponents. Denove lowered his ERA in conference games to 1.39 with Saturday's outing.
A bases-loaded balk in the bottom of the first allowed Kucia to score the first run of the game for the Spartans, and CWRU added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by junior outfielder Samuel Neal, a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Wypiszenski, and a run in the sixth on an infield hit by Maue. In the eighth, the Spartans extended their lead to 6-0 with RBI doubles from Maue and Wypiszenski.
Wypiszenski finished the game three-for-three with two RBIs, while Maue was two for four with a pair of RBIs and two stolen bases.
Brandeis starter Kyle Shedden took the loss, falling to 0-2 on the campaign.
Game 2: Brandeis 7, CWRU 5
The Spartans squandered an early lead, and Brandeis extended their advantage late in the contest, as the Judges averted a late CWRU rally to hold on for a 7-5 win in the late contest on Saturday.
CWRU took the early lead with a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the first. Maue started the rally with a two-out single, and scored a batter later on an RBI triple from Kucia. Kucia would cross the plate after Wypiszenski drove him home with a base hit in the next at bat.
Brandeis evened the score with a pair of runs in the third against CWRU freshman starter Willem Bouma, and the game remained tied until the fifth, when sophomore outfielder Jake Ryan drove in sophomore shortstop Jacob Lott with a base hit. However, the Judges tied the game with a run in the top of the sixth, and then scored two in each of the seventh and eighth innings off the Spartans' bullpen to build a 7-3 lead.
CWRU attempted to rally in the ninth inning, loading the bases with one out after walks to sophomore designated hitter Tre Armstrong, Lott, and junior outfielder Noah Mehrle. Ryan followed with a base hit to left field that scored Armstrong and Lott, and put the tying runs on the base paths. However, the next two batters each flied out to end the contest.
Ryan led the Spartans at the plate during the game, going three-for-five with three RBIs and a stolen base. Brandeis starter Mason Newman picked up the win to improve to 3-4 on the year, while Brown was saddled with the loss in relief, falling to 1-3.
The Spartans and the Judges will wrap-up their four game series on Sunday, April 28th with a single game at 11:00 a.m. at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio.