The Case Western Reserve University baseball team began their season this past weekend with three games against Shenandoah University, dropping all three games to fall to 0-3 on the young season.
In the first game of the season, the Spartans fell 13-6 to the sixth-ranked Hornets.
The Spartans were down early, when two home runs in the bottom of the first inning gave Shenandoah an early 3-0 lead. Another run in the second inning put the Spartans in a 4-0 hole.
The Spartans would show some fight in the contest, however, as third-year second baseman Alex Capetillo had an RBI groundout in the fifth. The Spartans put another run on the board in the fifth thanks to fourth-year left fielder Josh Neal’s single that scored fourth-year right fielder Tony Damiano.
Shenandoah would answer in the bottom of the frame with another two runs, increasing their lead back to four. A solo home run by another big contributor for the Spartans, second-year third baseman Jacob Kucia, cut the deficit back to three. The Spartans made the game even closer by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning. They trailed 6-5 heading into the seventh inning stretch.
Shenandoah ultimately put the game away in the bottom of the frame with seven total runs. Fourth-year co-captain Jake Shields pitched five innings in a losing effort for the Spartans. Neal had a fantastic game going three-for-four with a triple and two RBIs.
The Spartans played a doubleheader the following day to complete the opening three game series. The team suffered a sweep at the hands of the Hornets, losing 12-6 in the first game and dropping the second game by the score of 8-1.
In the first game, the Spartans were unable to keep Shenandoah off the board. The home team was able to score in each of the game’s first seven innings. The Spartans hung in the game early on, finding themselves down only 5-2 in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a RBI groundout from second-year shortstop Rocco Maue.
However, offensive outbursts by Shenandoah in the sixth and seventh innings effectively put the game out of reach, despite a Spartan rally in the ninth inning that saw them plate four runs.
In the second game of the contest, the Spartans were unable to get their bats going against the strong Shenandoah pitching. The Hornets eventually broke open the game late to seal the victory and the sweep of the series.
After scoring a run in the first, Shenandoah then scored a run in both the third and fifth innings, pushing their lead to 3-0. Two more runs in both the seventh and eighth innings effectively put this game out of reach. The Spartans were able to add a run in the top of the sixth inning, but it would not mean much in the long run.
The Spartans will travel to Pennsylvania to play against Washington and Jefferson College and Allegheny College next Saturday and Sunday. When asked about what the team needs to change to get a win, Head Coach Matt Englander focused on the defense, saying it needed to improve in games.
In regards to the season, Englander said, “Right now we are focused on being the best team we can be this coming weekend.”