Case Western Reserve University wrapped-up competition at the 2016 University Athletic Association Softball Championships on Sunday, falling 4-1 to second-ranked Washington University (Mo.) in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 7-13 overall on the season, while Washington improved to 14-4.
The Bears took a lead in the top of the first on a two-out RBI single from Anna McKee. The Spartans threatened in the bottom of the second inning, loading the bases with one out on a single from pitcher Annie Wennerberg, an error that allowed catcher Meghann McMahon to reach, and a walk to designated player Alex Favazza. However, Washington pitcher Annie Pitkin was able to get out of the inning unscathed with back-to-back strikeouts.
Washington added an unearned run in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 2-0. The Spartans answered back in the bottom of the sixth, when Wennerberg led the frame off with a double, and later scored on a two-out single from Favazza, cutting the lead to 2-1. However, the Bears tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh, taking a 4-1 lead into the Spartans' final half inning.
The Spartans tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh, after back-to-back singles to start the inning from shortstop Nicole Doyle and second baseman Maren Waldner brought the tying run to the plate. Pitkin would strike out back-to-back hitters, and after a walk loaded the bases with two outs, a third strikeout ended the CWRU threat and the game.
Wennerberg finished the game two-for-four at the plate, ending the tournament with a team-best .313 average (10-for-32), seven RBIs and two home runs. Favazza added a pair of hits in as many at bats with an RBI and a walk.
On the mound, despite taking the loss to fall to 4-7 on the year, Wennerberg allowed just one earned run on six hits and a walks, while striking out three over six inning of work. Pitkin earned the complete-game win for the Bears, improving to 9-2 on the season.
The Spartans finished tied for fifth with the University of Rochester at the 2016 UAA Championships with a 2-8 record during the 10-game tournament. Fourth-ranked Emory University claimed the UAA Title with a perfect 10-0 record in conference play, while Brandeis University and Washington finished tied for second at 6-4 each. New York University was third with a 4-6 conference ledger.
The Spartans will return to Cleveland to host their home-opening doubleheader next Saturday, March 19th against Thiel College. The first pitch of the first game is slated for 1:00 p.m.