Cleaveland walks off for Spartan victory

Andrew Ford, Staff Reporter

The Case Western Reserve University softball team opened their University Athletic Association (UAA) season with a split in two games against New York University (NYU).

On Friday, March 29, NYU visited Mather Park to begin UAA play. The visitors came away with a 4-2 victory in the first game, but the Spartans won the second game of the day thanks to a walk-off two-run home run by second-year centerfielder Arisa Cleaveland.

Third-year pitcher Ilissa Hamilton started the first game and pitched a complete game. She gave up four runs, but only two of those were earned. CWRU scored in the bottom of the second and the bottom of third, taking a 2-1 lead. They held that lead for an inning, until the top of the fifth when NYU scored three runs, including two solo home runs. That would be the final score, as neither team could get any other runs on the board.

The Spartans would get their revenge in the latter game, though, with a 5-3 win. Second-year pitcher Sidney Brannam was the starter for CWRU in this matchup, pitching a complete game as well, striking out three batters. NYU got on the board in the first inning, but scoring was a rarity for most of the game.

NYU scored again in the top of the fifth, but the Spartans came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. Third-year third baseman Melissa Cuellar opened the scoring for CWRU with a solo home run to right field. In the top of the seventh, NYU tied the game up at 3. With a runner on base in the bottom of the inning, Cleaveland hit a walk-off home run to give the Spartans their first UAA win of the season.

Two more games were scheduled for Saturday, but they were cancelled because of the weather.

CWRU will see another UAA rival come to campus, Carnegie Mellon University, on April 5 and 6.