Spartan Softball Unable to Break Through versus No. 2 Emory and No. 24 Washington U. at UAA Championship

(L-R): Gena Roberts and Erin Dreger
(L-R): Gena Roberts and Erin Dreger

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – Sophomore rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) hit her fourth homer in five games during the opener, but the Case Western Reserve University softball team dropped a pair of games versus nationally-ranked foes on Thursday at the University Athletic Association Championship at Seminole Field. The Spartans were outslugged by No. 2 Emory University (Ga.) in the opener, 9-6, then edged by No. 24 Washington University-St. Louis, 4-3, in game two.

The Spartans (6-6, 2-3 UAA) have three games in two days left in the Sunshine State, including a 10:00 a.m. bout with the University of Rochester (N.Y.) tomorrow morning. The Spartans squeaked past the Yellowjackets by a score of 5-4 this past Tuesday.

Versus the Eagles (28-1, 4-0 UAA), the Spartans jumped on the board first in the top of the first when sophomore pitcher Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa. /Greater Latrobe) helped out her own cause with a two-run double and then came around to score on a single by junior backstop Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor). The Spartan catcher later reached third on a wild pitch and scored when junior shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) hit a single to left to make the score 4-0.

During the bottom of the frame, Emory responded with three runs on just two hits as Megan Light provided a two-run homer. The Eagles tied the score following a Hannah Sendel RBI double in the third and opened the game up with five runs in the fourth. Courtney Sugihara hit a two-run double to open the rally, and Sendel capped it with a three-run homerun.

The Spartans' last two runs came via a Roberts long-ball in the fifth that plated freshman Rachel Komar (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga).

Rebecca Taylor pitched the first 3.1 innings for the Spartans and was saddled with the loss. Freshman Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence) did not allow a score in 2.2 innings of relief.

For the game, Amy Taylor and Lein were each 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Emory's Lena Brottman (5-0) came out of the bullpen in the first inning and wound up picking up the win with 4.1 frames of two-run ball. Sydney Carpenter recorded the final six outs with three strikeouts for her second save.

Sendel finished her day at the plate 2-for-4 with four RBI.  

In game two versus the Bears (16-3, 4-1 UAA), the Spartans fell behind 1-0 in the first thanks to a solo homer by Maggie Mullen. Washington U. then added another single run in the second with an RBI infield single off the bat of Laura Worthen. In the third, the Bears loaded the bases with no outs and followed with a pair of sacrifice flies to double their advantage to 4-0.

Undaunted, the Spartans rallied with three runs in the sixth all coming via the first collegiate homer for freshman first baseman Erin Dreger (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance). Komar got the inning rolling when she reached on an error, and sophomore second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) followed with a single. However, the Spartans would strand two runners later in the inning and one more in the seventh.

Rebecca Taylor (6-5) threw the first three innings in the loss, while Molnar was again stellar in relief with three scoreless innings and four strikeouts.

For the game, Case was held to just five hits, two of which came by O'Brien.  

Annie Pitkin (4-1) was effective on the mound for the Bears, allowing two earned runs in seven innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

Brooke Hofer was 2-for-2 at the plate to lead the victors.

Following tomorrow's single game with Rochester, the Spartans conclude their southern trip with a pair of games on Saturday, March 16 versus Brandeis University (Mass.) at 10:00 a.m. and Emory at 12:30 p.m.