ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – Sophomore second basemen Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted-in and a run scored to lead the Case Western Reserve University softball team to its third victory of the 2013 University Athletic Association Championship by a score of 7-3 versus the University of Rochester (N.Y.) on Friday morning at Seminole Field.
The Spartans improve to 7-6 overall and remain in third place in the UAA with a 3-3 mark. The squad wraps up its spring break trip tomorrow with a UAA twinbill versus Brandeis University (Mass.) at 10:00 a.m. followed by No. 2 nationally-ranked Emory University (Ga.) at 12:30 p.m.
Rochester (0-9, 0-5 UAA) opened the scoring in the top of the first when Brittany Grage ripped a two-out homerun to right center field that plated Meghan Hennessy.
The Spartans responded in the bottom half of the second with back-to-back RBI singles by junior designated player Katherine Seo (Salt Lake City, Utah/Olympus) and sophomore leftfielder Ashley Parello (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township).
Rochester regained the lead once again, 3-2, in the top of the fifth when Tayler Fravel connected on an RBI double to left center that scored Hennessy.
Not done yet, Case tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the frame thanks to O'Brien's awareness on the base paths. The second-year Spartan led off the frame with a single to left and promptly stole second base. A batter later, O'Brien advanced to third on a fly out and eventually raced home on a passed ball.
In the top of the sixth, Case sophomore pitcher Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) worked out of a jam. After allowing a U of R double to lead off the inning that was sacrificed to third, Taylor kept the contest deadlocked with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Spartan offense utilized that momentum and exploded for four runs to take a 7-3 lead in the home half. The big hits came off the bat of junior shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida), who had an RBI single to right as well as an O'Brien infield single and a two-run single up the middle off the bat of freshman Kristen Klemmer (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park).
With the win, Taylor improved to 7-5 for the season in 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. The right-hander allowed just one hit while striking out five and walking three. Freshman pitcher Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence) got the starting nod for Case and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with a strikeout and two walks.
Rochester's Sarah Wayson lasted 1.1 innings and surrendered two runs, one earned, on four hits. Madeline Skellie (0-1) followed with four innings of work and was saddled with the loss allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits with a pair of punchouts.
Grage led the offense for the Yellowjackets at 1-for-3 with a homer.