The Case Western Reserve University softball team began its 2017 season with a pair of losses on Friday, as the Spartans were edged 3-2 by Western Connecticut State University and 9-5 by 11th-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College at the Beach Blast Tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The losses dropped the Spartans' record to 0-2 for the year, while Western Conn. St. improved to 1-0, and Virginia Wesleyan moved to 11-0.
Game 1: Western Conn. St. 3, CWRU 2
CWRU started off the game with an early 1-0 lead. The Spartans scored in the top of the first, plating a run on a RBI single from sophomore shortstop Nicole Doyle.
Western Connecticut was held scoreless until the bottom of sixth when Jenna Gaudioso reached base on a fielder's choice, allowing Tori Dugan to score. The Colonials then successfully attempted a double steal with Gaudioso stealing second and Alexandra LaFemina stealing home to take a 2-1 lead over the Spartans. Amanda Gonzalez then reached base on a fielding error which allowed Gaudioso to cross home plate.
The Spartans threatened in the top of the seventh, scoring a run off of a single from freshman Nicole Carty to cut the Colonials lead to 3-2, but would be unable to score Carty from third.
Jacyln Smith earned the win for Western Connecticut, raising her record to 1-1, while senior Annie Wennerberg struck out four hitters and only allowed one earned run, but suffered the defeat, dropping to 0-1 on the season.
Game 2: Virginia Wesleyan 9, CWRU 5
A single, double and two fielder's choices in the second gave Virginia Wesleyan a 5-0 advantage, before junior Grace Tritchler got the Spartans on the board in the fourth with a home run to right centerfield. The home run was Tritcher's 14th of her career.
The Marlins, however, answered back in the fifth with a single from Kayla Duphlain that drove in Amanda Archer. Virginia Wesleyan added to their lead in the sixth by scoring three runs on three hits to extend their lead to 9-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Carty reached base on a throwing error that scored junior Maren Waldner, and junior Katie Wede followed with a three-run home run, cutting the Spartans deficit to 9-5. CWRU was held scoreless in the bottom of the seventh which sealed the victory for Virginia Wesleyan.
Freshman Callie Wang pitched well in relief, striking out two batters, and allowing two unearned runs. Starter Annie Wennerberg took the loss, dropping to 0-2 on the year, while Alana Peters collected the win for Virginia Wesleyan to improve to 1-0.
Case Western Reserve will be back in action tomorrow, wrapping up play for the weekend against Rutgers University-Camden at 12:00 p.m. and Randolph-Macon College at 2:00 p.m.