CWRU softball sweeps Bluffton at home, while baseball dominates at Oberlin

Senior outfielder Hope Yashnik was named UAA Hitter of the Week after going 9 of 13 in the doubleheaders against Denison University and Bluffton University.

Courtesy of CWRU Athletic Department

Senior outfielder Hope Yashnik was named UAA Hitter of the Week after going 9 of 13 in the doubleheaders against Denison University and Bluffton University.

Gaurav Hardikar, Staff Reporter

Midway through April, the Case Western Reserve University baseball and softball teams are still going strong. 

Following postponed home games against Franciscan University of Steubenville, CWRU softball returned to the field in full swing, extending their win streak to an impressive 10 games. The team split a 4-game series against The College of Wooster in late March and have been untouchable since losing the back half of that series. 

In these last 10 games, CWRU softball has wreaked havoc on their opponents, outscoring them 102-29 and working up to a 20-6 record on the season. Though the team has performed well on the road, their home field advantage is all too real, as they remain undefeated in 12 games played at home.

Last weekend started a bit uneasy for them in their 5-inning series opener against Bluffton University. A double and an error led to two early runs for the Bluffton Beavers, but the Spartans remained unfazed. Those first inning runs were all that Bluffton was able to muster up, and CWRU rallied to score four in the first inning and another seven over the next two.

The 11-2 route was highlighted by dominant plate performances by shortstop Sarah Miller and third baseman Liv Thomas. In three plate appearances, Miller scored three times, drawing two walks and launching a three-run home run in the bottom of the third. Thomas also took one deep in the third and scored twice. 

On the mound, fourth-year Sidney Brannam and first-year Jenna Jaklich led the charge for the Spartans. Brannam picked up her 14th win of the season after a four-inning effort in which she allowed just one earned run. She fanned four and retired 14 of the 22 batters she faced before Jaklich stepped in to close out the game by holding the Beavers scoreless in the last inning.

Though Bluffton kept the second half of the Saturday doubleheader far more competitive, the Spartans still emerged victorious in a 13-10 effort. The seven-inning game started terrifically for CWRU, as their lead swelled to seven by the fourth inning in a slugfest highlighted by a two-run home run from fourth-year leftfielder Hope Yashnik, her first homer of the season. 

However, the Beavers rallied to score five straight, bringing the score to 8-6. The Spartans retaliated with five runs of their own across the next two innings as fourth-year centerfielder Arisa Cleaveland picked up her fourth RBI of the game. Bluffton’s four-run comeback effort in the final inning wasn’t enough to close the gap, and Brannam picked up her second save of the year. Thomas also earned her first win of the year as a pitcher.

The baseball team appears to have caught fire as well. After splitting a four-game series against Wittenberg University, CWRU baseball swept Oberlin College on the road to extend their win streak to four. The Saturday doubleheader saw the Spartans leap out in front of the Oberlin Yeomen 9-0 in the sixth inning of the nine-inning series opener. Though the Spartans failed to score in the remaining three innings, Oberlin could only muster up three runs. 

The scoring efforts were led by fourth-year left fielder Benjamin Stawicki and sophomore right fielder Flynn Lenahan, who each recorded bombs in the third inning. Stawicki finished the game with three RBIs while Lenahan led the game with four. Third-year pitcher Nick Denove picked up his third win in five starts after retiring 15 of 17 batters faced in a formidable five-inning shutout performance.

CWRU was even more dominant in the second game, overwhelming the Yeomen 15-1 in the seven-inning rout. Just five innings in, the Spartans had already jumped in front 11-0 before allowing Oberlin’s lone run in the bottom of the fifth. Second-year catcher Jack Anderson was electric at the plate in the sweep-securing effort, recording six RBIs on three hits in five at-bats while senior pitcher Matt Levine recorded his first win of the season in a strong four-inning performance, striking out five and allowing no runs.

Both teams hope to continue their dominance at home and their impressive winning streaks this week as CWRU baseball takes on Denison University in a four-game weekend series split between Granville and Cleveland, while CWRU softball hosts Walsh University.