CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Case Western Reserve University softball team split a doubleheader with visiting Heidelberg University on Wednesday afternoon at Mather Park. The Spartans won the opener in walk-off fashion, 3-2 in eight innings, but dropped the second game, 9-1 in five innings.
With the split, the Spartans (18-11 overall) have won 12-of-16 games and will close out a season-long eight-game home stand on Friday, April 6 versus Oberlin College at 3:30 p.m. Case also moves to within one victory of tying the team's total from all of last season.
Heidelberg moves to 11-9 overall.
In the opener, the Spartans struck early in the first inning as freshman second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) led off with a single and advanced to third on a two-base fielding error by the Heidelberg rightfielder. Reigning University Athletic Association Hitter of the Week Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) then stepped to the plate and ripped a two-run homer to left center, the fourth of the year for the freshman rightfielder.
Freshman pitcher Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) held Heidelberg without a hit until a bunt single with two outs in the top of the fifth, but the Student Princes would eventually break through on the scoreboard with two runs in the sixth thanks to a two-run double from Bessie Artino.
Both sides then went scoreless until extra innings when Case sophomore shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) ripped a clutch, two-out RBI single up the middle to score Roberts ending the game.
On the mound, Taylor improved to 13-9 for the season with her 16th complete game. The rookie right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. Ali Sayre (4-4) was effective on the mound for "The Berg," allowing just two earned runs and eight hits in 7.2 innings of work.
Offensively, Roberts and senior first baseman/designated player Lauren Wolz (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) were each 2-for-4.
In game two, Heidelberg jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first following an Artino RBI single. The wheels then fell off for the Spartans in the top of the second as Heidelberg scored six runs, including five with two out, on four hits and two errors. Jami Wagner provided a two-run double and Megan Reinhart hit a two-run single.
The Spartans got on the board in the fourth when Lein and junior outfielder Chelsea Lasky (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) executed a double-steal, with Lasky coming home from third. However, Heidelberg invoked the eight-run rule in the fifth when a sacrifice bunt attempt turned into two runs on a three-base throwing error for the Spartans.
Freshman pitcher Christina Hunger (Aurora, Ill./West Aurora) started for Case, but lasted only 1.2 innings en route to falling to 4-2. Two Spartan errors led to five unearned runs of the seven surrendered by Hunger.
Taylor came on in relief and threw the next 2.1 innings, allowing one earned run. Freshman Hillary Bunnelle (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) recorded the final three outs.
For the game, Wolz and Roberts were each 1-for-2 with a double.