ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Case Western Reserve University softball team fell into a tie for first place at the 2014 University Athletic Association Championship after a 7-5 loss to No. 17 nationally ranked Washington University in St. Louis on Friday at Seminole Field.
The Spartans (9-5, 4-2 UAA) are now tied with No. 9 Emory University (Ga.) with two games remaining tomorrow. The second of the two games is a rematch from Thursday's 6-5 Spartan upset versus the Eagles.
The Bears (11-3, 4-3 UAA) stay a game back in the race with just one left on their schedule.
CWRU has three UAA Championships in softball in 1997, 1998 and 1999, but the team hasn't finished better than third since 2002.
Washington U. got the opening run of the game via a Maggie Ingell homer in the bottom of the first. That 1-0 score would hold until the top of the fifth when junior second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) returned the favor with a solo homer to center.
However, the Bears would answer in a big way with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Adrienne White and Kelsey Neal each hit two-run homers. Two more Washington U. runs in the sixth made the score 7-1.
On the mound, Annie Pitkin (5-2) limited the Spartans to just two hits with three strikeouts through the first six innings.
Refusing to go away in the seventh, the Spartans scored four runs on four hits with back-to-back-to-back RBI singles by junior outfielder Ashley Parello (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township), sophomore third baseman Erin Dreger (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) and freshman pitcher Annie Wennerberg (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake). But, Pitkin re-entered the game and danced out of trouble with the final three outs.
Junior Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) pitched the first five innings for CWRU and fell to 2-4 for the young season.
The Spartans, looking to win the program's first UAA Championship in 15 years, open the final day versus the University of Rochester (N.Y.) at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. The game with Emory is scheduled for noon.