Case Western Reserve University sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Levine pitched his first complete-game shutout of the season, leading the Spartans to an 11-0 win over the University of Rochester on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division III Regionals at Art Murray Field in Wooster, Ohio.
Case Western Reserve will advance to the regional championship game on Sunday at 11:00 a.m., where it will face the winner of the elimination game later on Saturday between Rochester and the host and top-seed College of Wooster. Either Rochester or Wooster will need to beat the Spartans twice on Sunday to prevent CWRU from clinching a berth into next weekend's Super Regionals.
CWRU raised its record to 24-13 with the win, while Rochester dropped to 29-16 with Saturday's setback.
Levine surrendered just six hits and a walk in the game, while striking out five batters, needed just 111 pitches to secure his first complete game of the season and the second-straight by a Spartan pitcher at the NCAA Regionals. Levine improved to 6-3 overall with the win and lowered his ERA to 2.69 for the campaign. It was the second complete-game shutout of his career.
Meanwhile, the Spartans totaled 15 hits in the game, including a four-for-six performance and two runs scored for senior third baseman Jacob Kucia, and a three-for-five day at the plate with three runs scored, three RBIs, a home run, a walk and a stolen base for senior second baseman Rocco Maue.
The Spartans struck early in the game, scoring a pair of runs against Rochester starting pitcher Garrett Renslow (who pitched a no-hitter during his conference championships a week ago) in the top of the first. Maue reached on a walk to lead the game off, and stole second base with two outs. Senior catcher Tyler Wypiszenski delivered a base hit up the middle to score Maue, and then stole second, moved up to third on an errant throw, and scored on a passed ball to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
CWRU sent nine batters to the plate and added on three more in the top of the third. Maue, sophomore designated hitter Jake Ryan and Kucia opened up the inning with three-straight singles, before Wypiszenski plated his second run of the game with an RBI groundout. Junior first baseman Casey McConihe followed with a sacrifice fly to score Ryan from third, and a two-out base hit by sophomore outfielder Benjamin Stawicki plated Kucia, extending the Spartans' lead to 5-0 and chasing Renslow from the game.
CWRU tacked on another run in the top of the fifth on an RBI fielder's choice by junior outfielder Samuel Neal, and scored two more in the seventh on a two-out bases loaded single by Maue to take an 8-0 lead. McConihe plated a run with his second sacrifice fly of the game in the eighth, and Wypiszenski added a run after scoring on a passed ball later in the inning, putting the Spartans ahead 10-0. Maue added a solo home run deep to left field in the top of the ninth, his fifth of the year, to push CWRU's lead to 11 and cap off the scoring for CWRU.
Renslow suffered the loss for the Yellow Jackets, falling to 6-3 on the campaign.
Fans can follow the Spartans' game on Sunday, along with the second contest if necessary, with live video and live statistics on the tournament website at http://www.woosterathletics.com/sports/bsb/2018-19/NCAA/2019_Baseball_Regional.