Spartan Softball Slugs Its Way to Split at John Carroll

Erin Dreger's game one blast was the first of three Spartan homers on the day. (photo by Lynne Browske)
Erin Dreger's game one blast was the first of three Spartan homers on the day. (photo by Lynne Browske)

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – The Case Western Reserve University softball team hit a combined three homeruns and scored a season-high 12 runs in game two as part of a doubleheader split at local-rival John Carroll University on Friday afternoon at Bracken Field. The Spartans lost game one, 8-5, but slugged their way to a 12-6 win in the nightcap. 

The doubleheader was originally scheduled for Thursday, April 11 but was postponed due to rain.

With the split, the Spartans (14-13) stay above the .500 mark and will remain on the road for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader at Oberlin College tomorrow afternoon. The Blue Streaks move to 15-7. 

In a productive day at the plate for the Spartans, sophomore rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity) had one of her best days of the season with a combined 4-for-6 effort that included a double, a triple, a homerun and four runs batted-in. Junior catcher Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor) continued her hot streak at 4-for-7 with a grandslam, while freshman first baseman Erin Dreger (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) was 4-for-9 with a double, a homer and a pair of RBI. 

In the opener, the Blue Streaks utilized a pair of homers by Ally Kleinhans (solo) and Colleen Brady (two run) and jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one inning. Then with two outs in the second, the hosts picked up another long ball from Ashlee Unrue followed by back-to-back doubles by Samantha Becker and Erica Chiudioni and pushed the advantage to 5-0. In the third, Mackenzie Griffin kept the Blue Streak homerun train running with a solo shot.

The Spartans got on the board in the fourth when Roberts doubled to drive home Taylor, who led off with a single. However, two runners were left in scoring position following a pop-out and a double play that was caused by over-aggressive base running.

Dreger brought the Spartans two runs closer in the fifth when she blasted a two-run homer to left, but the Blue Streaks scored two more in the bottom of the inning and created some breathing room.

The Spartans brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but JCU pitcher Gina Tosti danced out of trouble with a groundout.

On the mound, sophomore Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) lasted only two innings in her 10th loss of the season. Freshman Marisa Kohley (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) came on in relief in the third and pitched four innings of three-run ball with three strikeouts. 

For JCU, Rachel Byrnes (11-1) was the winning pitcher with four runs allowed in six innings. Tosti pitched the seventh. 

At the plate, Roberts was 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a triple. Amy Taylor was also 3-for-4, while Dreger finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. 

The Blue Streaks were led by Griffin, who was 2-for-2 with three RBI. 

In game two, the Spartans struck first in the second inning thanks to an RBI double by junior shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida). The lead grew to four in the next frame when Roberts hit her team-best fifth homer of the season - a three-run shot - which ran her RBI total to 29 for the spring. 

Undaunted, John Carroll came right back with five tallies in the bottom of the inning after a two-run single from Griffin and a two-run double by Brady. 

Both teams then went scoreless until Case regained the lead in the fifth following a two-run double by sophomore leftfielder Ashley Parello (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township). 

John Carroll briefly tied the score at 6-6 in the bottom of the fifth with a solo homer by Morgan Robinson, but the Spartans blew the game open with five runs in the sixth. 

Two batters after a bunt by freshman third baseman Rachel Komar (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga) led to a run-scoring error, Amy Taylor came to the plate and belted a grandslam to make the score 11-6. 

Komar added an RBI single in the seventh for good measure. 

Rebecca Taylor bounced back on the mound to throw five solid innings of relief and improved to 12-10. 

Tosti suffered the loss for JCU. 

Offensively, Komar was 2-for-4, while Dreger finished 2-for-5. Roberts and Amy Taylor only recorded one hit each but accounted for a total of seven RBI. 

After tomorrow's road twinbill at Oberlin, the Spartans return home to host an eight-game homestand that begins on Monday, April 15 versus the University of Mount Union.