After scoring only forty-six runs in their first sixteen games, the Bulldogs managed more than half that amount just this weekend. In three doubleheaders against the University of Connecticut, Marist and Manhattan, the Bulldogs crossed the plate twenty-five times on their way to winning four out of the six games.
The weekend was capped with a 9-0 throttling of the Manhattan Jaspers in five innings in the second game of their home-opening doubleheader. Varsity rules stipulate calling a game after five innings if a team is winning by more than eight runs.
“What we did in the second game [against Manhattan] and what we did in the first game is the team I thought this team was going to be,” head coach Andy Van Etten said. “I thought we’d be able to score runs and I thought we’d have a decent defense and good pitching.”
The first game versus the Jaspers saw the Bulldogs erase a 2-0 sixth-inning deficit to come away with a 3-2 victory in nine. Leftfielder Emily Lederer ’06 had a walk-off home-run in the bottom of the ninth to cap the thrilling victory. Lederer said she felt it was just a matter of time before the Bulldogs put it together.
“We were hitting the ball the entire time, we just had to string it together,” Lederer said. “I just did it.”
In addition, Lederer said her timely hit could be tied to a video the team watched on a recent road trip.
“We watched the Olympic Games yesterday on our travel trip and there’s this player Crystl Bustos. She’s the best hitter on the team,” Lederer said. “I was thinking ‘What would Crystl Bustos do?'”
In their 7-0, 4-1 sweep of Marist College Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY, catcher Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05 went seven-for-seven and knocked in two. Peggy Hunt ’06 pitched a five-hit shutout in the first game and Beth Pavlicek ’06 followed that performance with a complete game in the nightcap.
On Friday in Storrs, CT, the Bulldogs dropped two close games to the Huskies, 3-2 and 3-0. The first contest saw the Bulldogs threatening to tie in the seventh with runners on second and third with two outs, but outfielder Libby Peters ’05 was thrown out at the plate to end the game. In the evening portion of the double-dip, Jillian Miles ’04 pitched a complete game for the Bulldogs, allowing two earned runs off four hits, while striking out three. The contest also found the Elis in the midst of another seventh-inning rally. They put runners on first and second with one out, but third baseman Niki Haab ’07 grounded into a game-ending double-play.
The Bulldogs’ record currently stands at 10-12.
This weekend was hopefully a sign of things to come for the offense. After producing only four runs in a doubleheader against Army earlier in the week, the run production this weekend was a welcome sight.
Another good sign is Kwiatkowski’s recent surge. After struggling in Florida, the catcher has recently found an offensive groove.
“I’ve just been seeing the ball really well the last couple games,” Kwiatkowski said. “[The ball] looks really, really big right now. That always helps. I’ve just been a lot more confident. In the beginning I struggled a little bit and I was beating myself up over it more than anything. I’ve just been a lot more confident lately.”
Kwiatkowski drove in five runs against Manhattan, four of those coming in a bases-loaded double in the fourth. A throwing error by the Jaspers allowed her to score after rounding second.
“[Kwiatkowski] can go eighty-for-eighty if she keeps her head up,” Van Etten said. “She’s a very, very good athlete.”
With Ivy League play fast approaching, this six-game stretch served as a good reinforcement for an offense that definitely needed it.
“We’re a good-hitting team,” Van Etten said. “We just haven’t shown it. Hopefully this will be the breakthrough here.”