It took three days, but the Yale softball team finally got things right Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (8-10) defeated visiting Marist (4-11-1) 4-2 in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, which was one of three twin-bills the team played this weekend. Yale dropped Sunday’s opener 5-1, and in the previous two days Yale lost twice to Providence (11-5) on Saturday 7-3 and 8-0 and dropped two close games to Fairfield (11-11-1) on Friday, 5-2 and 4-3 in eight innings.
“It felt good to get that win in the last game,” captain Monica Lebron ’01 said. “We’d been hitting the ball decently all weekend, but it was right at people. [In the final game on Sunday] we didn’t give up, and we got some key hits when we needed them.”
The final game began as a pitcher’s duel between Yale’s Cara Denver ’02 and Marist’s Nicole Fox. Both teams were held hitless through two and a half innings, before the Bulldogs broke through in the bottom of the third. Yale opened the inning with two straight singles and then loaded the bases when Lebron reached on a fielder’s choice. Alice Liu ’01 then drove Fox’s next offering deep to left field. The ball got by the Red Dogs’ left fielder, and three runs scored before Liu was thrown out at the plate.
In the next inning, Denver ran into her only trouble of the game, allowing a two-run home run. But she quickly settled down, surrendering only one hit in the final three innings.
“I got into trouble in the fourth inning,” Denver said. “But we made sure to get back on track. Being in the lead after that, I was able to relax a little bit.”
The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the fifth, when Lebron doubled in Britni Fabacher ’04. Denver shut the Red Dogs down for the remainder of the game to give the Bulldogs the 4-2 win. The junior pitcher finished with a complete game, yielding just four hits and striking out nine.
“The second game [on Sunday] was like we had drawn it on the board,” head coach Andy Van Etten said. “We had good pitching, good defense and timely hitting.”
But the Bulldogs were unable to find that combination in the other five games of the weekend. Both offense and defense let down in the front end of Sunday’s doubleheader. Yale made two errors, which led to two unearned runs, and was limited to six hits in the 5-1 defeat.
“I knew the first inning was going to be key for us,” Van Etten said. “We gave them five outs in the first, and it led to two runs–and that really hurt us.”
Yale didn’t fare much better Saturday, when it was outscored a combined 15-3 by a tough Providence College squad.
On Friday, Yale was again unable to come through in the clutch as it lost two tight contests to Fairfield. In the opener the Stags came from behind, scoring two runs in the seventh inning to send the game to extra innings. They then won the game in the eighth. And in the second game, Fairfield broke open a 2-2 tie with three runs in the seventh inning to come away with the victory.
The Bulldogs will look to build on Sunday’s performance when they host Rhode Island for a doubleheader Wednesday.