Red-Hot Spartan Softball Wins Ninth-Straight with Sweep at Wittenberg

Rebecca Taylor (photo by Lynne Browske)
Rebecca Taylor (photo by Lynne Browske)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Make it nine in a row and 13 out of 14 for the Case Western Reserve University softball team after the Spartans pulled a doubleheader sweep at Wittenberg University on Saturday afternoon at Dillahunt Field. Behind strong pitching performances by sophomore Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) and freshman Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence), the Spartans won by scores of 6-1 and 8-2.

With four games remaining on the schedule, the Spartans (22-13) move to a season-high nine games above the .500 mark and return home to host Bethany College (W. Va.) tomorrow for Senior and Alumni Day at 2:00 p.m. at Mather Park.

The two losses dropped the Tigers to 20-11.

In addition to picking up the win on the mound in game one, Taylor was a combined 4-for-7 at the plate with a run batted-in.

In the opener, the two sides went scoreless until Wittenberg picked up a single run in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a Kaitie Harrison RBI single. The Spartans responded with a pair in the following inning when freshman designated player Kristen Klemmer (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park) led off with a single that was followed by an RBI double off of the bat of sophomore second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) and an RBI single by freshman third baseman Rachel Komar (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga).

An inning later, the Spartans opened the game up with four runs on five hits as both O'Brien and freshman first baseman Erin Dreger (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) knocked in a pair.

Taylor (16-10) was solid on the mound once again with her 16th complete game. In seven innings, she allowed seven hits and one walk while striking out four. In her last four outings, the second-year Spartan is 4-0 with a 1.50 earned run average and 29 strikeouts in 28 innings of work.

For the game, O'Brien was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Komar, who stole her 11th base of the year, was 2-for-4 along with Dreger, junior catcher Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor), Rebecca Taylor and Klemmer.

Wittenberg's Kaela Hughes suffered the loss in 1.2 innings of relief. Harrison and Aubrey Mendez led the Tigers at the plate with 2-for-3 performances.

In game two, both teams scored once in the first as O'Brien crossed home on a wild pitch for the Spartans, and Rachel Ross hit an RBI single for the Tigers. An inning later, the Spartans moved ahead by two as junior shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) singled home Rebecca Taylor and sophomore leftfielder Ashley Parello (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township). Case's lead grew to 8-1 in the top of the fourth thanks to back-to-back doubles from Parello and Lein as well as RBI singles by Komar, Dreger and sophomore rightfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity). Rebecca Taylor drove home the final run of the frame with a sacrifice fly.  

The Tigers scored once more in their half of the sixth with an RBI single from S. Lance.

Molnar (3-3) logged a season-high seven innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks with a career-high eight strikeouts.

Offensively, Lein was 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI. Rebecca Taylor was 2-for-3, while Roberts and Parello each went 2-for-4.

Wittenberg's Lacey Eigel (0-1) was the losing pitcher on the mound, while Loren Combs led the hosts at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort.

Following tomorrow's DH with Bethany, the Spartans remain at home to close out the regular season versus Geneva College (Pa.) in a make-up twinbill at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30.

Two more sweeps would equal last season's win total as the second-most in school history.