Spartan Softball Splits with No. 25 Washington U. and Rochester to Open UAA Championship

Gena Roberts (photo by Austin Sting)
Gena Roberts (photo by Austin Sting)

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – Sophomore rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) went a combined 4-for-8 with a homerun and six runs batted-in as the Case Western Reserve University softball team split a pair of games to open the 2013 University Athletic Association Championship on Tuesday at Seminole Field. The Spartans were dropped, 11-3, in five innings, by No. 25 nationally-ranked Washington University-St. Louis in the morning, but rebounded to defeat the University of Rochester (N.Y.), 5-4, in the afternoon.

The Spartans (5-4, 1-1 UAA), who play eight games in five days at the Seminole Complex, are back in action for a single game tomorrow afternoon versus Brandeis University (Mass.) at 12:30 p.m.

Versus Washington U. (13-2, 1-0 UAA), the Spartans jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first when Roberts blasted a two-run homer to center. Three batters later, sophomore pitcher Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) doubled home freshman first baseman Erin Dreger (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) to make the score 3-0. 

In the second, the Bears came right back as Maggie Mullen led off with a solo homerun to left. After a short rain delay, two hits and two walks, Washington U. moved in front 5-3 thanks to a three-run double by Adrienne White.

After both teams went scoreless in the third, the Bears opened the game up with three runs on four hits and an error in the fourth. Kelsey Neal provided a two-run double, while Mullen drove in one with a two-bagger to right. An inning later, Washington U. invoked the eight-run "mercy rule" with three more scores thanks to RBI singles by Neal and Sondra Polonsky.

Taylor was roughed up in her four innings on the mound and fell to 4-3 for the season. Freshman Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence) threw the final inning.

After a shaky first frame, Neal (7-1) settled in for the Bears and allowed three earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts in five innings.

Neal also finished 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI. Adrienne White was 2-for-4 with four RBI, and Mullen was 3-for-4 with a homer.

Versus Rochester (0-5, 0-1 UAA), the Spartans once again scored in the top of the first when Roberts followed a double by freshman third baseman Rachel Komar (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga) with an RBI single. The Yellowjackets answered on one swing of the bat in the second when Lauren Muni hit a three-run homer, but the Spartans were quick to respond with a pair of tallies thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles from Komar and Roberts.

The game then went scoreless until the top of the sixth when Roberts hit a two-run double to plate sophomore second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) and freshman outfielder Kristen Klemmer (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park). Rochester cut into the deficit with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning by Gena Bradford Tume, but Taylor was able to retire the Yellowjackets in the seventh.

The win pushed Taylor to 5-3 overall. In seven innings, the second-year Spartan allowed four earned runs on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Roberts was 3-for-4 with a double and four RBI for the game, while Komar was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI.

Brittany Garage threw all seven innings for Rochester and allowed five earned runs in the loss. Muni led the Yellowjackets at the plate with a 2-for-3, three-RBI performance.