CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Case Western Reserve University softball team dedicated its brand new Mather Park scoreboard and split a doubleheader with Wittenberg University on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans won the opener, 12-1 in five innings, but lost a late lead in game two, eventually falling 4-3.
The Spartans, ranked sixth in the latest NCAA Division III Central Region rankings, move to 26-15 overall with the split and 18-8 in 26 games since returning from their annual spring break trip in Florida. The 26 victories are the second-highest total in program history, moving past the 1999 squad (25-9) and trailing only the 2001 team (31-10).
With the split, the Tigers stand at 23-17.
Prior to Sunday's doubleheader, the program dedicated its scoreboard made possible through a gift from the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association. Additionally, Sunday served as Spartan Softball Alumni Day with plenty of former players on-hand.
In the opener, the Spartans came out with a vengeance and scored five runs in the first inning on four hits and two Wittenberg errors. Highlighting the inning was a two-run double off the bat of sophomore catcher Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor), scoring freshman second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) and sophomore shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida).
In the top of the second, the Tigers manufactured a single tally off Spartan freshman starter Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) and put runners on first and third with two outs. However, Taylor induced a pop-up to get out of the jam.
Riding the wave of offensive momentum, the Spartans tacked on three more in the bottom of the second. Freshman rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) laced an RBI double to the left centerfield wall. The hit gave her 54 this season, breaking the Spartan single-season record set last spring. Roberts then came around to score when senior first baseman/designated player Lauren Wolz (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) added to her school record career homerun total with a two-run shot over the right centerfield fence. Wolz owns the CWRU career records for hits (170), homeruns (28) and runs batted-in (127).
The score remained 8-1 until the bottom of the fourth when the hosts added four runs on four hits. The big hit came on a two-run triple down the right field line off the bat of sophomore leftfielder Katherine Seo (Salt Lake City, Utah/Olympus). Senior designated player Ianna Wasser (Warwick, R.I./Toll Gate) also had an RBI single earlier in the frame and O'Brien hit a sacrifice fly that scored Seo.
For the game, Wasser went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, while Amy Taylor went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI. Of note, Lein was also 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
On the mound, Rebecca Taylor improved to 20-10, logging all five innings for her 24th complete game of the spring. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits, striking out three and walking three.
In the nightcap, Case jumped out once again to an early 3-0 lead via a three-run double to right center by Amy Taylor.
The score remained 3-0 in favor of Case until the top of the third when Wittenberg sliced the hosts' advantage to one (3-2). Carly Cribbs hit an RBI double to right center and the Tigers took advantage of a Case error for the second run.
In the top of the sixth, the Tigers threatened to knot the score as Laura Rose doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, Rebecca Taylor helped her own cause snagging a line drive off the bat of Kaitie Harrison that was headed for center field, preserving the one-run Case advantage.
But down to their last strike in the seventh, the Tigers rallied for two runs when Cribbs lined a two-run homer to dead centerfield.
Taylor (20-11) took the loss on the mound in her 25th complete game, allowing three earned run on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Offensively, Seo and Amy Taylor were each 1-for-3.
Wittenberg's Rachel Ross kept the Spartan bats in-check through seven innings with a pair of strikeouts.
The Spartans now hope to hear their name called for an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship Tournament. The selection show is set for Monday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) on NCAA.com.