Baseball pulls off major upsets


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The baseball team is currently ranked No. 18 in Division III after a hot 10-1 start. During this span, the team defeated two top five teams in the nation.

As spring approaches and the snow melts away, flowers aren’t the only things blossoming. The Case Western Reserve University baseball team flourished at the start of the season with an impressive 10-1 record, winning all seven games in the Spartan Southern Classic in Lexington, South Carolina. The Spartans managed to defeat two top five ranked teams.

The Spartans started the season with wins over No. 4 Washington and Jefferson College, runner-up in the Division III World Series last year, and Allegheny College. Game one was a good test to see how hard the Spartans had been training all year; their hard work paid off, as the team broke a 2-2 tie in the eleventh inning with five runs. After the bases were loaded with one out and two walks, second-year first baseman Casey McConihe hit a single to take the lead. Third-year catcher Tyler Wypiszenski hit a triple to score three more runs to seal the victory. Fourth-year pitcher Liam Killingstad came in the clutch to close the eleventh inning, allowing only one hit and two walks during relief.

However, Washington and Jefferson took revenge the next day, handing out the Spartans’ only loss so far this season. The Presidents started with two runs in the third and broke through with consecutive scoring innings, taking a 7-0 lead in the sixth inning against the bullpen. Second-year right fielder Noah Merle doubled a run in the ninth, but the Spartans were unable to come back.

“I think our offense needed to be more disciplined [in that game] … we didn’t get [enough] quality hits,” said first-year outfielder Benjamin Stawicki.

Against Allegheny, fourth-year second baseman Alex Capetillo hit a RBI single, going two for four.

Third-year shortstop Rocco Maue has been leading the team so far in batting, with .467 batting average. He hit a two-run home run against Roger Williams University (RWU) and continued his dominance against RWU with three home runs that netted eight runs in total, resulting in 8-1 and 12-1 wins respectively.

“Rocco and Tyler [were] swinging really well … when they hit well, other guys hit well,” Stawicki said.

Third-year pitcher Mark Gross has been dominant, having the lowest ERA of 0.75 over 24 innings. Gross was crucial in the matchup against No. 5 Cortland State College, allowing only one earned run and two total on six hits and a walk over almost nine innings of work. He struck out six batters and consecutively retired 14 batters during the fourth to ninth inning.

“[Gross] really sets the tone for the whole team [on fielding],” Stawicki said.

Maue was able to score on a double, while second-year center fielder Samuel Neal capped off the score to yield a 3-0 lead. Although Cortland scored two runs against Gross with the tying run at third base, Killingstad came in to save the game, grounding out a runner at second.

“Liam comes in at close games and is always consistent,” Stawicki said.

The Spartans completed their Lexington run with 5-2, 3-1 wins over Trinity College (Connecticut), and a 15-5 blowout over the University of Rochester. The scoring explosion against Rochester came in the fifth, the Spartans will attempt to extend their seven game win when Merle scored on a double-play hit to tie the game at 3. Third-year third baseman Jacob Kucia hit a ground rule double to take the lead, while Wypiszenski also hit a double to put the Spartans up by three. First-year shortstop Jacob Lott and designated hitter Jake Ryan got in on the action as well, both hitting two-run doubles.

The Spartans will hopefully continue their winning streak in a home-and-home series against Ohio Wesleyan University at home on Saturday, March 24, which will be the first time the Spartans play at Nobby’s Ballpark this season.