CLEVELAND -- The 16th-ranked (March 29 D3baseball.com Division III national poll) Baldwin Wallace University baseball team defeated Cleveland cross-town and non-league rival Case Western Reserve University, 14-8, at Nobby's Ballpark. The Spartans (8-8) return the favor by travelling to Berea tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1 to play the Yellow Jackets (12-4) at Heritage Field at 4 p.m.
In the first inning, senior All-Ohio Athletic Conference left fielder Zach Ferster (Olmsted Falls) led off with a single and scored to make it 1-0 when sophomore second baseman Cole Nieto (Brunswick/St. Ignatius) had the first of his two doubles. After an out, two-time All-OAC third baseman/ pitcher Mark Zimmerman (Akron/ Green) reached on an error and Nieto scored for a 2-0 lead. Zimmerman advanced to second on walk to junior All-OAC designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/ Green). Zimmerman scored from second base when senior All-OAC shortstop Eric Murphy (Brook Park/ Midpark) hit a long sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
BW made it 4-0 in the second as Ferster was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a Nieto single. After another out, he moved to third when Zimmerman walked to load the bases and scored when Handel walked to force him home.
The Spartans cut the BW lead in half with runs in the bottom of the first and fourth innings, respectively, to make the score 4-2.
BW broke the game open with seven runs in the fifth as Zimmerman singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Handel walked and the duo advanced to second and third on a Murphy sacrifice bunt. After another walk to sophomore LF Logan Heffernan(Lebanon) loaded the bases, freshman catcher Trent Kaltenback (Plain City/ Kettering Alter) singled Zimmerman home for a 5-2 lead and reloaded the bases. Freshman pinch hitter Spencer Badia (Bellaire) was hit-by-pitch to score Handel for a 6-2 lead, Ferster walked home to force home Heffernan for a 7-2 advantage, and Nieto doubled home Kaltenbach and pinch runner Hunter Abell (Fostoria) for a 9-2 bulge. Senior All-American first baseman Kyle Chontos (Pickerington/ North) singled home Ferster for his school career-record 187th base hit for a 10-2 lead. Zimmerman scored Nieto when he reached on an error to make it 11-2.
After CWRU scored two runs in the borttom of the fifth and three more in the sixth to close the BW lead to 11-7, the Jackets responded with three runs in the top of the seventh. Nieto reached on an error, moved to third when Chontos ripped his BW career-record 48th double and both scored when Zimmerman singled for a 13-7 lead. Zimmerman advanced to second on the throw home to get Chontos and scored two batters later when Murphy singled him home for a 14-7 lead. CWRU scored in the seventh to cut the lead to 14-8.
At the plate, BW pounded out 14 hits and scored 14 runs. Nieto led the way by going 3-for-6 with three runs scored, a double, triple abd three runs batted-in (RBI). Zimmerman, this week's Ohio Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week, was 2-for-4, reached base four times, scored three runs and had four RBI. Heffernan was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Chontos was 2-for-6 with his school career-record 48th double and an RBI.
On the mound, freshman left-hander Evan Lovick (Mentor) started and pitched the first five innings to improve to 3-0 this season. He allowed six base hits, four runs (two earned), struck out two Spartan batters and walked two others.
Junior righty Matt Wittels (Lyndhurst/ Brush) started the sixth but needed help from senior Chuck Jones (Kettering/ Fairmont). Jones pitched one and two-third innings, allowed two hits and one run (earned) and struck out two. Freshman Alec Palmer (Oakdale, Pa./ West Allegheny), making his first career appearance, pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth innings, allowed one hit and struck out two.
After hosting CWRU tomorrow, the Yellow Jackets end this week by travelling to Westerville, Ohio to play an OAC doubleheader at Otterbein University at 1 p.m. It is a key OAC twinbill for BW as Otterbein (14-4 OAC), which is listed among the "Others Receiving Votes" in the D3baseball.com national poll.