Despite seeing its season-high eight-game winning streak come to an end, the softball team still went 5-1 this weekend in three doubleheaders against Sacred Heart, Fairfield and Seton Hall.
The lone loss came in the first game against Seton Hall Sunday at Dewitt Family Field. Pirates pitcher Megan Meyer pitched a one-hit gem, the only tarnish being a single by Eli pitcher Jessica Meyer ’07 in the bottom of the sixth. The two pitchers are not related. The Bulldogs defeated the Pirates 4-3 in the second game, with catcher Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05 coming up big in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run shot off Jessica Jones. The Elis swept both of their doubleheaders against Sacred Heart at home and Fairfield in Fairfield, Conn., beating the Pioneers 5-3 and 6-1 and pulling out close games against the Stags, 2-1 and 1-0. The Bulldogs’ record now stands at 15-13.
Captain Jillian Miles ’04 picked up her first two victories of the season against Sacred Heart Friday and Seton Hall yesterday. Miles allowed two runs in five innings against the Pioneers, and pitched a six-strikeout complete game against the Pirates. The senior attributed some of her early-season struggles to a slower delivery. Miles, who started the season 0-3, now feels more comfortable after increasing her arm speed this past week. Heading into Ivy play, Miles hopes that her two victories this weekend serve as much-needed momentum-builders.
“I’m known for my quickness, and when my quickness isn’t there I’m not the same pitcher,” Miles said. “I’ve been working a lot on arm speed and it’s been working. Getting a couple wins under my belt has really helped me and I feel comfortable out there.”
While Miles turned things around this weekend, hurlers Peggy Hunt ’06 and Beth Pavlicek ’06 continued the dominance they have shown this season. Hunt pitched her third shutout of the season in her team’s 1-0 victory in the first game against Fairfield. She scattered six hits over seven innings, striking out five Stags. Not to be outdone by her teammate, Pavlicek almost single-handedly beat Fairfield in the second game. Pavlicek threw a three-hitter, and supplied a two-run triple that gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 victory.
On the offensive side, a number of Bulldogs took turns sharing the spotlight. Against Sacred Heart, the Eli freshmen class showed why they are one of the best Yale has had in recent years. Christina Guerland ’07, Niki Haab ’07 and Kate Meserve ’07 went a combined seven-for-eleven in the two games, while Meyer had a game-breaking two-run single in the Bulldogs’ four-run fifth inning in the second game. Shortstop Leah Kelley ’04 shined against Fairfield, going two-for-three in the first game and ripping her first homer of the season in the nightcap. In the first game, the offense struggled against the Pirates. Kwiatkowski, serving a rare turn in the outfield, slammed a two-run homer in the afternoon session to cap a 4-3 victory. The hot-hitting catcher said she was not trying to hit the ball out of the park.
“I was thinking to move the runner more than anything,” Kwiatkowski said. “I just wanted a single to move the runner into scoring position. It just happened that it was a nice pitch where I could hit it out.”
After playing non-conference foe Rhode Island later this week, the Elis will host Ivy League rivals Cornell and Columbia on Friday and Saturday. While there is no doubt Yale has the talent to win the Ivy league title, head coach Andy Van Etten said it will come down to hitting the ball when it matters most.
“I thought right from the get-go that we were a very good team,” Van Etten said. “And I still think that. We have to learn to hit the good pitching. That [Seton Hall] girl in the first game was really slick. The more we play, the better we get. We had timely hitting this weekend and that’s the name of the game.”