The Case Western Reserve University baseball team ended its opening weekend on a positive note, defeating Earlham College 7-4 in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon, after suffering a 5-4 setback in the early contest in Richmond, Indiana.
With the win in the second game, the Spartans now stand at 1-2 on the year, while Earlham is 2-1.
Junior shortstop Jacob Lott picked up four hits in nine at bats over the two games, including two doubles and his first home run of the season, while driving in three runs. Junior catcher Jake Ryan added four hits in 10 at bats, with two doubles and a triple. As a team, the Spartans collected nine extra base hits over the two games.
Game 1: Earlham 5, CWRU 4
For the second-straight game, the Spartans could not hold on to an early lead against Earlham, as the Quakers came from behind for a 5-4 win over CWRU in the early contest on Sunday.
The top three batters in the CWRU order – Lott, senior centerfielder Samuel Neal and Ryan – combined for five of the team's eight hits in the game.
After Earlham scored a run off CWRU junior starting pitcher Matt Levine in the bottom of the first, the Spartans took the lead in the top of the third with three runs in the frame. Lott led the inning off with a double, and scored on a single by Neal in the next at bat. A single by Ryan put runners on the corners, and with one out in the inning, Neal came across on a groundout by junior designated hitter Tre Armstrong, giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead. A two-out single by junior leftfielder Benjamin Stawicki scored Ryan, and extended the lead to 3-1.
The Quakers pulled back within a run on a solo home run by Danny Dopp in the third. In the fourth, first-year third baseman Owen Levinson and Lott led the frame off with back-to-back singles. Levinson advanced to third on a fly out, and came around to score when Lott forced a rundown on a pickoff play, giving the Spartans a 4-1 advantage.
However, Earlham would even the score on a two-run double by Dopp in the fifth, and take the lead in the seventh on an RBI double by Isaiah Shake. The Spartans would get the tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could not plate the equalizer.
Levine took the loss for the Spartans, allowing four earned runs over six and a third innings. He surrendered seven hits and struck out six, while failing to walk a batter. Senior southpaw Scott Kutschke pitched the final 1.2 innings for the Spartans, allowing just a hit and striking out a pair. Aidan Talarek earned the win for Earlham with three scoreless innings of work out of the bullpen, improving to 1-0 on the year, and Jordan Christian pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the campaign.
Game 2: CWRU 7, Earlham 4
First-year pitchers Benjamin Gorski and Sankalp Doshi combined to allow just six hits and three earned runs over nine innings, and Lott and sophomore outfielder Cole Jarrett each homered, as the Spartans defeated the Quakers 7-4 in the second game of the doubleheader for their first win of the 2020 campaign.
CWRU pounded out 11 hits, including seven extra base hits. Jarrett, first-year designated hitter RJ Christie, Ryan and Lott each had multiple hit games for CWRU.
For the second time through three games this season, Jarrett led off the game with a home run to give CWRU an early 1-0 lead. Christie followed with a double, eventually coming around to score on a sacrifice fly by senior first baseman Casey McConihe, extending CWRU's lead to 2-0.
Earlham cut the lead in half with an unearned run off Gorski in the bottom of the first, but a bases-loaded walk drawn by Levinson in the fourth, and an RBI groundout by Jarrett later in the frame, but the Spartans ahead 4-1.
After allowing a double to lead off the game, Gorski would not surrender another hit until the sixth inning, retiring 10-consecutive batters between the second and fifth innings. He would allow a pair of runs to the Quakers in the sixth, as Earlham trimmed CWRU's lead to 4-3, but struck out a batter with the tying run at third to keep the Spartans ahead.
Gorski finished his collegiate debut with three runs allowed (two earned) on four hits and two walks, while striking out eight batters.
In the top of the seventh, Lott gave the Spartans some more breathing room with a two-out three-run home run, his first of the season, putting the Spartans in front 7-3. Doshi entered the game in relief in the seventh, and retired the first six batters of his collegiate career, before allowing a single and a triple to start the ninth, as Earlham pulled back within three runs, 7-4. However, he sat down the next three batters, holding the runner at third, to secure the victory for the Spartans and pick up the save in the game.
Gorski earned the win in his collegiate debut, improving to 1-0 on the year. Earlham starter Louis Lipthratt picked up the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season.
The Spartans are scheduled to travel to Washington, Pennsylvania next Saturday, February 29, for a doubleheader at Washington and Jefferson College, starting at 1:00 p.m.