Spartans Dial Up the Long-ball in Sweep of Local-Rival John Carroll

Makenzie Lein (photo by Ryan Baker)
Makenzie Lein (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Case Western Reserve University softball team hit a combined six homeruns, including a season-best five in the opener, en route to a doubleheader sweep of local-rival John Carroll University on Thursday at Mather Park. The Spartans took game one, 15-7 in six innings, and game two, 6-1.

The Spartans (23-14 overall) improve to 17-7 in 24 games since returning from their annual spring break trip in Florida. The 23 victories are the third-highest total in program history.

With the losses, the Blue Streaks fall to 22-12.

In game one, John Carroll jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning with four unearned runs aided by a pair of Spartan errors and a three-run double by Michelle Murphy. The Spartans cut their deficit in half during the bottom of the inning as freshman second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) and sophomore shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) led off with back-to-back homeruns.

After JCU added two runs to the lead with a homer by Mackenzie Griffin in the second, Case came back with two runs of its own on an RBI single by freshman rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) and a double-steal that plated Lein.

Both sides then went scoreless in the third before Case exploded for five runs in the fourth to lead 9-6. Senior first baseman Lauren Wolz (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) drilled a three-run homer to left center and sophomore catcher Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor) added a solo shot to lead the charge. The Spartans then blew the game open with five more runs in the fifth as Wolz hit another homer, freshman pitcher Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) singled in one, and freshman leftfielder Ashley Parello (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) singled home two.

John Carroll got one run in the top of the sixth with a homer from Samantha Becker, but the Spartans ended the game with two in the bottom of the frame when Amy Taylor walked to force home a score and freshman designated player Hillary Bunnelle (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) singled home the winner, invoking the eight-run rule.

For the game, Wolz was 2-for-3 with two homers, four RBI, two walks and three runs scored. The school's all-time leader in career homeruns (25) and RBI (119), Wolz is just one hit shy of tying another CWRU mark (168). Roberts and Rebecca Taylor were each 3-for-4.

Overall, Case set season-highs with 15 runs, 17 hits, 13 RBI and five homeruns.

On the mound, Rebecca Taylor improved to 16-10 with her 20th complete game. In six innings, she allowed three earned runs while striking out four. Her first strikeout in the top of the first set the CWRU single-season record.

In game two, Case picked up a quick run in the first via an RBI single by senior third baseman Kaeleen Boden (Strongsville, Ohio/Holy Name). The Blue Streaks briefly tied the game in the second with a solo homer by Murphy, but the Spartans responded with three runs in their half of the inning with RBI coming courtesy of Roberts, Wolz and Boden. Case tacked on two more runs in the fourth with another homerun from Lein and an RBI double from Amy Taylor.

For the game, Lein, Roberts and Boden were each 3-for-4 with Lein scoring three runs.

On the mound, Taylor (17-10) recorded her 21st complete game with seven innings of two-hit ball and six strikeouts.

The Spartans are back in action this Sunday, April 22 at Hiram College for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader.