Spartan Softball Opens Home Schedule in Style with Walk-Off Sweep of Denison

Rebecca Taylor won game one on the mound and hit the game-winning single in the nightcap. (photo by Ryan Baker)
Rebecca Taylor won game one on the mound and hit the game-winning single in the nightcap. (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND – Sophomore pitcher/first baseman Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) won game one on the mound and provided the walk-off hit in game two as the Case Western Reserve University softball team opened the home portion of the 2013 schedule with a sweep of Denison University on Saturday afternoon at Mather Park. The Spartans won the opener, 6-2, and rallied from four runs down late to win the nightcap, 6-5.

With the wins, the Spartans improve to 11-12 overall and will be back in action on the road tomorrow afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader at Heidelberg University in Tiffin.

The sweep drops the Big Red to 11-7.

Taylor threw her 11th complete game of the year to win game one, allowing just two earned runs on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. The second-year Spartan was also a combined 4-for-7 at the plate with three runs batted-in – the last of which accounted for the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

In game one, the Spartans scored in the opening frame as sophomore second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) led off with a walk, stole her 15th base of the season, moved up on a rundown throwing error, and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Erin Dreger (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance).

Denison briefly tied the score with a Rachel Laughlin solo homer in the fourth, but the Spartans answered with five in their half of the fifth with an RBI single by junior shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) and two-run singles from Rebecca Taylor and junior catcher Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor).

The Big Red could only generate one more score in the sixth with a solo homer by Meghan Edwards.

For the game, Dreger was 2-for-2 with an RBI, O'Brien was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and both Taylors were 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Denison's Rebecca Dyer (5-4) suffered the loss on the mound with five earned runs in six innings and seven strikeouts. Edwards and Gretchen Staubach were each 2-for-3 at the plate for the visitors.

In game two, Denison broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the third thanks to a grandslam by Edwards. The Spartans scored once in the bottom of the inning via an RBI double by freshman third baseman Rachel Komar (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga), but the Big Red countered with a single run in the fourth on a Rosie Glaser RBI single.

The visitors then held the momentum until the top of the fifth when Amy Taylor made a heads up throw from behind the plate to pick off a Denison runner leading off second to end the frame. An inning later, the Spartans began their comeback with four runs on two hits and two errors in the sixth.

With the bases loaded, sophomore rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) "blooped" a single into left field to plate Rebecca Taylor, who had reached via an error. Sophomore leftfielder Ashley Parello (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) followed with an RBI fielder's choice to score Dreger before a deep fly ball off the bat of freshman outfielder Kristen Klemmer (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park) was dropped, allowing the tying two runs to score.

Freshman pitcher Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence), who was stellar in relief, held Denison scoreless in the seventh to set the stage for Rebecca Taylor's game-winning single that plated Komar, who doubled one batter earlier.

Molnar (1-3), allowed just one unearned run, and picked up her first collegiate win with six strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.

Rebecca Taylor was 3-for-4, while Komar finished 2-for-4 with the deciding run.

Denison's Kelsey Hager (6-3) was the victim of three errors and took the loss despite only surrendering two earned runs in 6.1 innings. Edwards and Laughlin were each 2-for-4 at the dish.

Following tomorrow's road twinbill at Heidelberg, the Spartans continue a six-game road trip at local-rival John Carroll University on Thursday, April 11 at 3:30 p.m.