BEREA, Ohio – Senior shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida) broke the school record for career hits, and the Case Western Reserve University softball team split a pair of extra-inning affairs at cross-town rival Baldwin Wallace University on Tuesday afternoon at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Field.
The Spartans (24-12) dropped the opener, 3-2 in eight innings, but rebounded to clip the Yellow Jackets (17-18) by a count of 4-3 in another eight-inning contest to conclude the evening.
Lein was a combined 4-for-6 with an RBI in the twinbill. Her RBI double in the top of the eighth inning of game two gave her 172 hits for her career. Lauren Wolz (2009-12) previously held the record of 171. Lein is also the school's all-time leader in runs scored (125).
Also starring on the day was freshman pitcher Annie Wennerberg (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake). The rookie hurler was 4-for-6 with two home runs at the plate and threw 8 1/3 stellar innings on the mound with 10 strikeouts.
Game one was an epic pitcher's duel between Wennerberg and BW's Tabitha Murray. Both teams were held scoreless for the opening seven innings with only three runners – all from BW – reaching scoring position. Then with two out in the top of the eighth, Wennerberg provided a two-out, two-run homer to left.
Down 2-0, the Yellow Jackets put on their rally caps to score three times in the bottom of the eighth. After Mackenzie Brua was placed at second, Murray followed with a single through the middle of the infield. Two outs ensued, but a crucial fielding error allowed Brua to score and Murray to reach third. Alison Fiorucci then hit a game-winning, two-run double to right center.
Wennerberg pitched the first 6 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high nine batters in a no decision. Junior Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe) suffered the loss without allowing an earned run in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Murray (5-6) logged all eight innings, allowing one earned run for BW. At the plate, she was 3-for-4.
Game two started in similar fashion with six scoreless innings prior to an RBI single in the top of the sixth by Spartan junior outfielder Gena Roberts (Miami, Fla./Palmer-Trinity). Brua quickly tied the game up for the hosts with a solo homer to left center in the bottom of the frame, but Wennerberg put CWRU back on top with her own solo shot to right center in the seventh.
Keeping with the pattern of homers, Fiorucci forced extra innings with a long-ball to right center in the bottom of inning number seven.
With a runner placed at second, Lein opened the scoring in the eighth with her record-breaking double down the left field line. She would later score on a passed ball to put her squad on top, 4-2. The Yellow Jackets refused to go away again as Murray cut the lead to one with an RBI single with one out, but a line-drive double play allowed the Spartans to escape with the victory.
Lein finished at 3-for-4, while Wennerberg was 2-for-3 with her team-best fifth home run.
On the mound, sophomore Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence) threw six innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts. Wennerberg (12-3) tossed the final two frames to pick up the win.
Erica Morgan (7-6) was the tough-luck loser for BW with two earned runs allowed in eight innings. Murray was 3-for-4 at the plate once again for the Yellow Jackets.
The Spartans, ranked second in last week's NCAA Central Region rankings, return home for the final six games of regular season. The home stand begins with a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader versus Otterbein University on Thursday, April 24 at Mather Park.