Spartans strand 12 runners on base
LEXINGTON, S.C. (March 15, 2019) – The Western New England University baseball team opened its spring break trip with a 2-0 victory over Case Western Reserve University on Friday afternoon at Lexington County Stadium.
Western New England utilized five pitchers to shut down the Case Western offense. Senior righthander Paul Wetmore (Hamden, Conn.) got the start and improved to 1-1 this season after scattering seven hits over 5.1 innings.
Juniors Patrick Westerlind (Auburn, Mass.) and Jeff Zebrowski (South Hadley, Mass.) and senior Sean Halligan (North Branford, Conn.) all turned in scoreless innings in relief (1.1 for Westerlind), with Halligan closing the door on the Spartans in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.
Offensively, senior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, while senior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and junior second baseman Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) recorded one RBI each.
Case Western sophomore righthander Matt Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.) took the loss for the Spartans despite allowing just one earned run on four hits over eight innings of work.
Sophomore outfielder Benjamin Stawicki (Aurora, Ohio) went 3-for-3 at the plate, while senior Jacob Kucia (Strongsville, Ohio) posted a 2-for-5 effort with a double.
Case Western threatened in the bottom of the first inning, as Kucia doubled to right center before Wetmore walked and hit the next two batters he faced, respectively to load the bases. He was able to get out of the jam, however, as he induced an inning-ending fly out.
After Wetmore stranded three more Spartans on base in the bottom of the second, the Golden Bears struck for the game's first run in the top of the third.
Valeriano got it started with a double down the left field line, before advancing to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Johnson came up next and grounded out to short, allowing Valeriano to score from third.
The Spartans had several opportunities to tie the contest over the next few frames, as they left two runners on base in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
Western New England tacked on another run in the top of the eighth, as Valeriano led off with a single through the right side of the infield, before eventually coming in to score when Loparco drew a walk with the bases loaded.
Zebrowski utilized a double play in the bottom of the eighth to escape a bases-loaded situation, and Halligan worked around a one-out single in the ninth to seal the win.
• Case Western outhit Western New England 9-4.
• The Spartans stranded multiple runners on base in six of the nine innings.
Western New England (2-1) and Case Western (6-6) will meet again tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Lexington County Stadium.