ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Case Western Reserve University softball team lost its final two games of the 2012 University Athletic Association Championship on Saturday at Seminole Field. The Spartans lost to Brandeis University (Mass.) by an 11-3 score in six innings before falling in a heartbreaking fashion in the nightcap to the University of Rochester (N.Y.) in eight innings, 2-1.
The Spartans, who on Tuesday ended a three-year UAA losing streak, fall to 6-7 overall and finish in a tie for fourth-place with a 3-5 conference mark. The team also earned a pair of upsets versus nationally-ranked Washington University-St. Louis earlier this week.
Against Brandeis (3-5, 3-5 UAA), Case fell behind 1-0 on an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning. However, the Spartans responded with a pair of tallies in the top of the third via a two-run double by senior first baseman Lauren Wolz (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) plating sophomore infielder Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) and freshman pitcher Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe), who each drew walks.
Brandeis tied the score at 2-2 with a run in the home half of the third, and the game remained knotted until the top of the fifth when Lein drove home freshman infielder Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill.Loyola), who reached via a one-out triple, with a sacrifice fly to center. But, the Judges once again answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning for a 4-3 lead and put the game away with seven runs on five hits and one Case error in the bottom of the sixth invoking the NCAA eight-run rule.
On the mound, Taylor was saddled with the loss giving up nine runs, seven earned, in 5.1 innings. Classmate Christina Hunger (Aurora, Ill./West Aurora) came on in relief but didn't record an out surrendering the final two Brandeis runs.
Versus Rochester (5-6, 4-4 UAA), the Yellowjackets utilized a run in the top of the eighth inning and relief pitcher Sarah Wayson worked her way out of the bottom of the frame where the Spartans loaded the bases but were unable to score the equalizer.
A game that featured solid pitching performances from both teams, Case managed its lone run of the contest in the bottom of the third when Hunger singled to score Lein who reached on a miscue by the left fielder.
Rochester tied the game in the top of the fifth on an RBI single from Meghan Hennessy setting up the final dramatic inning.
Hunger started the game for the Spartans on the mound and threw the first five innings, allowing just one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Rebecca Taylor was the tough-luck loser, giving up the eighth-inning run on just two hits in three innings while striking out four.
Brittany Grage started for the Yellowjackets and pitched the first two innings, giving up one unearned run on four hits, while Wayson notched her first win of the spring while tossing the final six frames and allowing just two hits with five punchouts and three walks.
The Spartans are back in action up north on Wednesday, March 21 with their home-opening doubleheader versus Westminster College (Pa.) at Mather Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.