CWRU Baseball puts on hitting clinic to win 3 straight and climb above 0.500


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

Third-year first baseman Nick Talarico hit and scored in all three games, including a 3-run home run against Adrian College.

Gaurav Hardikar, Staff Writer

The Case Western Reserve University baseball team is heating up at just the right time as they triumphed against Baldwin Wallace University, John Carroll University and Adrian College last week.

Despite the shaky start to the season, CWRU found its confidence with four straight wins over Emory University to close out March. However, the Spartans still sat at an unimpressive 12-13 record heading into the home game against the 17-3 Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets and were in desperate need of a mid-season push. Fortunately, they got just what they needed at the plate.


Baldwin Wallace – April 7

Graduate student pitcher Evan Faxon took the mound for CWRU as Baldwin Wallace stepped up to bat in the first inning. Though Faxon gave up a base hit, he shut down the other three hitters he faced, striking out the last one. The Spartans came up empty in the bottom of the first, but after Faxon fanned two more in the top of the second while continuing to keep the Yellow Jackets from scoring, the CWRU hitters got it going in the bottom of the second. Third-year left fielder Kevin Mackenzie advanced third-year first baseman Nick Talarico and graduate student designated hitter Tre Armstrong with a savvy bunt and Talarico scored off a sacrifice fly from fourth-year right fielder Cole Jarrett. Third-year second baseman Trey Haley hit an RBI single to drive Armstrong in and give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. Baldwin Wallace retaliated in the third and took a 4-2 lead while allowing no runs for CWRU.

The Spartans refused to back down in the fourth. Faxon struck out all three batters he faced before letting the offense take charge. Armstrong and Mackenzie singled before Jarrett walked, loading up the bases for Haley. A 2-RBI single from Haley tied the game up with no outs before Jarrett scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Third-year catcher Jack Anderson singled to put two more runs on the board, and CWRU closed out the fourth inning up 7-4. 

Faxon kept the Yellow Jackets off base in the fifth, and the Spartans built onto their lead by tacking on another run with a Jarrett single that scored Mackenzie, who walked and stole second base. Aside from the barrage in the third inning, Faxon had done a steady job keeping Baldwin Wallace quiet, but his fatigue was beginning to show. In the sixth inning, he gave up a single, walked a batter and hit another, but still managed to keep the Yellow Jackets from scoring. In the bottom of the sixth, Anderson singled and eventually scored on a throwing error while first-year center fielder Nick Harms reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on an Armstrong single.

Down 10-4 and facing a new pitcher, Baldwin Wallace tried to catch up in the seventh, but only managed to string together a run which was effectively meaningless thanks to the Spartans’ 2-run scoring effort in the bottom of the inning. Haley was hit by a pitch and graduate student shortstop Jacob Lott walked. Both runners scored on a single from second-year third baseman Zack Carinci. The visitors put up a run in the eighth and another in the ninth while the Spartans’ bats fell silent, but it was CWRU that ultimately walked away with the 12-7 victory. Faxon improved to an impressive 5-0 on the season with the win.


John Carroll – April 9

Fresh off the high-scoring bout with the Yellow Jackets, the Spartans hosted John Carroll University and handed the struggling 9-10 Blue Streaks a blowout. Though John Carroll quickly scored a run in the first, their offense fizzled out the rest of the way at the hands of fourth-year pitcher Nick Denove. Denove struck out the side in the top of the second before Haley doubled and scored off an Anderson single to tie the game at 1. Denove shut the Blue Streaks down in the third as well and chaos ensued when the Spartans stepped up to bat. Talarico singled, Armstrong walked and Mackenzie rewarded them with a strategic bunt yet again. Talarico scored on a wild pitch while Jarrett and Haley loaded the bases with walks. A throwing error got Anderson on base and allowed Armstrong and Jarrett to score. A Carinci single followed, scoring Anderson and Haley to give CWRU a 5-1 lead after three innings.

Though Armstrong singled in the fourth, neither team scored. The fifth inning saw another scoring storm from the Spartans. Haley walked, Lott struck out but reached first on a wild pitch and Anderson singled. With the bases loaded, Harms hit a single to drive in Haley and Lott, while Talarico brought Anderson and Harms home with a 2-RBI single of his own. Down 10-1, John Carroll had lost hope, as Denove struck out two more in the top of the sixth. Third-year right fielder Flynn Lenahan doubled, advanced to third on a Jarrett single and scored the final run of the game on a wild pitch. 

Denove struck out another two in the seventh before being pulled in the eighth. The game wound down quietly and CWRU secured another big home victory. Denove pitched a marvelous 7 innings to earn his first win of the season after giving up only 1 run and striking out 10 batters.


Adrian – April 11

Finally, the Monday road game against the Adrian College Bulldogs had arrived. Originally scheduled to be played on March 22, the game saw the 11-8 Bulldogs host the rolling Spartans in Michigan. Second-year pitcher Reece Marley got the start for CWRU and had a nice buffer to work with in the bottom of the first, as the Spartans piled on 3 runs in the top of the inning. After Anderson singled and Harms walked, Talarico crushed a 3-run home run. 

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs got three athletes on base but were held scoreless in the first. The Spartans offense kept things going in the top of the second, as Haley singled and scored on a Lott double. Carinci drove Lott in with a single to lift the Spartans up 5-0. Marley continued to silence the Adrian hitters to close out the second. Talarico reached first on a throwing error and scored on a single from Armstrong before Marley struck out the side in the bottom of the third to keep CWRU up 6-0.

Though both teams were quiet in the fourth, the Bulldogs finally began to trade blows in the fifth. After Harms tripled and was driven in by Armstrong, the Bulldogs were able to put up a run of their own to keep the deficit at 6. From there on it was smooth sailing, as neither team scored in the final 4 innings. Lott’s single in the sixth was the last of the day for the Spartans, who eventually won 7-1 to earn their third straight victory in five days while Marley picked up his fourth win of the season.

Following the win, the Spartans’ record improved to 15-13. Though they only outhit their opponents by 6 across the three games, the difference in scoring efficiency proved to be the key. The Spartans scored 30 runs off 33 hits over the three games, while Baldwin Wallace, John Carroll and Adrian combined for just 9 runs off 27 hits.

Denove was honored as the UAA Pitcher of the Week after earning his first win of the season against John Carroll. He allowed only one run on six hits and struck out a career-high 10 batters.

As the end of the season approaches, CWRU baseball has some big games coming up. This weekend, the Spartans host New York University in a four-game conference series to defend their first-place 6-2 UAA record. CWRU will stay at home the following weekend for yet another four-game conference series, this time against Washington University in St. Louis. With the recent spark the Spartans have had, one can only hope that their success carries the team to the end of the season.