Baseball sweeps four game series at NYU

Sanjay Annigeri, Staff Reporter

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The Case Western Reserve University baseball team picked up its first win and series win in conference play, outhitting New York University (NYU) with 6-5, 6-0, 3-1 and 5-3 victories on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. The team also picked up a 7-2 victory at home on Wednesday, April 3 against Baldwin Wallace University.  

Against Baldwin Wallace, the bats were hot, and the pitching was solid.

Five pitchers held the Yellow Jackets to four hits, three walks and two unearned runs throughout the game.

Third-year starter Casey McConihe started the game with two scoreless innings. During this time, the Spartan bats were active, scoring three runs on singles by fourth-year third baseman Jacob Kucia, second-year right fielder Benjamin Stawicki and McConihe.

First-year right-hander Willem Bouma also pitched a pair of scoreless innings, and the Spartans plated two more runs on a bases-loaded walk by second-year catcher Jake Ryan and a Kucia double.

Third-year pitcher Paul Slota added two more hitless innings and Ryan added to the run count. Fourth-year lefty Corey Brown pitched a shutout seventh inning, and third-year Scott Kutschke gave up two unearned runs. Regardless of this, the Spartans won comfortably.

The offensive firepower continued against NYU.

In the first game, the Spartans took an early lead with run-scoring singles by Kucia, McConihe and fourth-year second baseman Rocco Maue.

NYU answered backed with a run and a two-run double to cut into the lead. Both teams cooled off, but NYU took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-out run-scoring single.

In the top of the ninth, the Spartans came back. First-year outfielder Cole Jarrett hit his first career home run to tie the score at five. Maue then drove in the go-ahead run on a chopper over the third baseman. Kutschke picked up the save to ensure a win.

In the second game, Spartan first-year pitcher Nick Denove threw a complete game shutout, and the offense was able to put up six runs.

McConihe opened the scoring in the second inning with a double that brought Stawicki home. Third-year outfielder Noah Mehrle’s base hit also brought McConihe home, giving the Spartans an early two-run lead.

Mehrle continued a hot hitting streak with a home run in the fifth inning and a run-scoring single to bring McConihe home in the seventh inning. Jarrett scored on a wild pitch, and Maue hit a single to score Mehrle. The Spartans scored three runs in the seventh and were able to win commandingly.

In the third game, the team had to battle hard to come back and win in extra innings.

Bouma gave up an early run the top of the first, but Ryan hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning to tie the score at one.

Strong relief pitching by second-year righty Tony Smodilla kept the game knotted up.

Fourth-year outfielder Jacob Pestel had a base hit in the 11th inning to drive home Maue. McConihe followed up with a sacrifice fly, bringing Ryan home. The Spartans took a 3-1 lead and didn’t look back.

In the final game of the series, the Spartans struck early.

NYU scored early in the top of the first, which the Spartans answered back with a catcher’s interference call that scored Mehrle. Maue then hit a two-run single, and a Ryan sacrifice fly gave the Spartans a 4-1 lead.

McConihe, Slota and Kutschke worked to limit the NYU bats.

Kucia added to the lead in the eighth inning with a solo home run and the team comfortably went on to win.

The Spartans finished the weekend with four wins, bringing their overall season record to 17-8 and University Athletic Association record to 4-2.

The team will continue conference play at Emory University, meeting the Eagles in Atlanta for a four-game series from Friday, April 12 to Sunday, April 14.