#21 softball suffers first loss in split with Case Western Reserve

WALTHAM, Mass. – The 21st-ranked Brandeis University softball team saw its 16-game unbeaten streak halted with a 4-2 loss in the opening game of a University Athletic Association (UAA) doubleheader with Case Western Reserve, but the Judges bounced back to defeat the Spartans, 5-0, in the nightcap. The Judges move to 16-1-1 on the season, 5-1 in the UAA, while the Spartans are now 16-8, 5-3 UAA.

In the second game, the story was Brandeis rookie pitcher Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) and junior 1B P.J. Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional).

Goldman was one strike away from pitching her first collegiate no-hitter, facing just two batters over the minimum. She retired the first eight in a row before surrendering a two-out walk in the third inning. Goldman then set down the next 12 Spartans before designated player Liv Thomas delivered a 3-2 pitch to right field to spoil the no-no bid. Thomas moved to second when the ball got past the right fielder, but was stranded there when Goldman tossed her career-high 10th strikeout of the game. For the contest, Goldman threw 94 pitches, 63 for strikes as she improved to 7-0 on the season.

Offensively, Ross finished 2-4 with four RBI and two runs scored and was responsible for all five Brandeis runs. In the bottom of the second, she led off and reached when the first baseman dropped an easy pop fly. After Goldman singled, Ross scored when rookie 3B Marley Felder's (Miami, Fla./American Heritage) bunt was thrown away trying to Ross out as the lead runner at third.

In the third inning, with one on and two out, Ross delivered an opposite-field home run to right. The bomb was her first of the season and the seventh of her career. Ross produced two more two-out RBI In the fifth inning, singling to center field with runners on second and third to make it 5-0. Goldman took things from there, delivering the Judges' their fifth UAA win of the season.

In the opener, CWRU scored first in the third inning, when sophomore left fielder Sydney Wagner led off with a double and scored two batters later on a single up the middle by sophomore catcher Dusstyn Reynolds. The Spartans could have added another run when rookie DP Liv Thomas singled to center, but Brandeis sophomore Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) threw Reynolds out at the plate to end the inning.

The Spartans added a second run in the top of the sixth when rookie Grace Yeung delivered a pinch-hit single to deliver junior pinch runner Caitlin Smith from third with two outs.

After leaving eight runners on base through the first five innings, Brandeis got to Case Western junior starter Illisa Hamilton in the sixth for a pair runs to tie the game. With one out, sophomore right fielder Bridget Cifuni (Georgetown, Mass./Brooks School) reached on a bunt single. After Hamilton got the second out on a strikeout, Brandeis rookie left fielder Amidori Anderson (Sparks, Nev./Spanish Springs) doubled to left center field, allowing Cifuni to score all the way from first. Senior catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) followed with a double of her own – her 11th of the season – to knot the game at 2-all.

Unfortunately for the Judges and their unbeaten streak, CWRU answered with two more in the top of the seventh. After Brandeis junior starter Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest) issue a leadoff walk, she couldn't quite get the handle on the ensuing bunt, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Reynolds followed with a hard single to left that slipped under the outfielder's glove, allowing the go-ahead run to score and putting two more runners in scoring position. The Judges nearly got out without any more damage, as Rothenberg gunned down a second runner at the plate from center for a line-drive double play, but a walk and a single by junior 3B Melissa Cuellar gave the visitors their two-run lead back. Todd hit a one-out single in the bottom of the frame, but Hamilton got the last two outs to preserve the win.

Hamilton outdueled Todd with 10 strikeouts, and one walk in seven innings. She gave up eight hits and two earned runs to improve to 8-3 on the season. Todd suffered her first loss, dropping to 8-1, after giving up 11 hits and four runs (two earned). She fanned two and walked four.

Lehtonen and Todd each had two of Brandeis's eight hits, while Reynolds and Nicole Carty each had two for the Spartans.

 

Brandeis and Case Western Reserve will meet for two more UAA games tomorrow, starting at 1 p.m.