CLEVELAND – Behind a dominant game two outing from sophomore pitcher Rebecca Molnar (Independence, Ohio/Independence), the Case Western Reserve University softball team split a doubleheader with Otterbein University on Thursday afternoon at Mather Park.
The Spartans' (25-13) 14-game home win streak ended as the Cardinals (14-19) claimed the opener, 4-3. However, CWRU bounced back behind Molnar to win the nightcap, 4-1. The team's 25 wins this season are the fourth most in program history behind the totals from 2012 (26-15), 1999 (25-9) and 2001 (31-10).
In her fifth complete game of the year, Molnar allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out a career-high 10 batters without issuing a walk.
In game one, Otterbein scored single runs in the second and third to counter one from the Spartans in the second. Then in top of the fifth, the Cardinals posted two more scores on a solo homer by Laura Basford and an RBI double by Kelsey Long. The Spartans were only able to score once more with back-to-back doubles from junior second baseman Molly O'Brien (Northbrook, Ill./Loyola) and senior catcher Amy Taylor (Brier, Wash./Inglemoor) in the bottom of the fifth.
Freshman Annie Wennerberg (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) suffered the loss with three earned runs allowed and seven strikeouts in six innings.
Otterbein's Kelsey Long (2-3) threw a complete game victory. In seven innings, she allowed just one earned run on four hits with one strikeout.
Offensively, Amy Taylor was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Spartans. Basford went 3-for-4 to lead Otterbein.
Game two started as a pitcher's duel as neither side scored until the fifth. The Spartans were no-hit through the first five frames despite scoring the first run on a sacrifice fly by junior first baseman Rebecca Taylor (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe). An inning later, CWRU put the game away with a three-spot highlighted by a two-run double from sophomore third baseman Rachel Komar (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga). The Cardinals got their only run on a two-out RBI single by Callie Studebaker in the seventh.
Maggie McMahan (2-11) took the loss for the visitors with three earned runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings. Basford was 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Spartans continue their six-game homestand versus Heidelberg University on Sunday, April 27. The Seniors' Day doubleheader is set for a 2:00 p.m. first pitch. In between games, the program will honor its three softball senior student-athletes, shortstop Makenzie Lein (Petersburg, Mich./Ida), outfielder Katherine Seo (Salt Lake City, Utah/Olympus) and Amy Taylor. Lein, who owns the school career records for hits and runs, had started all 158 games during the last three-plus seasons prior to missing today's DH due to injury.