The softball team has had no problems handling its opponents lately, so it should come as no surprise that the Elis were not about to let inclement weather stand in the way of their 13th win in the last 15 games.
After learning yesterday that their doubleheader against the University of Hartford was cancelled due to field conditions, the Bulldogs (21-15, 3-1 Ivy) were able to find another opponent — their other intrastate rival, Quinnipiac. This doubleheader between the Bulldogs and Bobcats, held in Hamden, Conn., had originally been scheduled for March 21 but was also postponed due to poor field conditions.
Playing in sun-drenched fields for a change, the Bulldogs split the twin bill, dropping the first game 6-2, and bouncing back for a 2-1 victory in the nightcap.
The first game yesterday saw the Bobcats extend their winning streak to nine as they handily defeated the Elis 6-2.
Captain Jillian Miles ’04 started for the Bulldogs, giving up five earned runs on six hits in three innings of work. Ashley Linnenbank ’06 came on in the fourth and pitched three innings of scoreless ball for the Elis.
Usually fast starters at the offensive end, the Bulldogs were beaten at their own game. By the bottom of the first, the Bobcats had already put three marks in the run column.
Quinnipiac designated hitter Kim Norman ripped a one-out, two-RBI double that put the first two Bobcats across the plate. An error by Yale shortstop Leah Kelley ’04 allowed Norman to score the third run for Quinnipiac.
The third inning saw the Elis produce one run on an error by Bobcat pitcher Melissa Reynolds, but Quinnipiac responded right back with another trio of runs in the bottom half.
At the top of the fifth, Yale catcher Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05 drove in second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 with a single. But the Bulldogs would not score again afterwards.
“We just weren’t really into the game,” Miles said. “We were watching a lot of good pitches go by us.”
In the nightcap, the Bulldogs regrouped, coming away with a thrilling 2-1 victory after Beth Pavlicek ’06 hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the sixth.
Peggy Hunt ’06 started for the Bulldogs, going four innings and not giving up an earned run before making way for Pavlicek in the fifth. Both pitchers knew beforehand that they were going to split the game in order to rest up for this weekend. The switch worked out beautifully, with Pavlicek pitching three shutout innings and providing the fireworks on the offensive side as well.
Before Pavlicek’s dinger, the Bulldogs had scored once in the top of the first after first baseman Chelsea Kanyer ’06 drove in Kelley with a one-out single. Kanyer went five-for-seven in the double-dip to extend her hitting streak to six games.
The highlight of the game, though, was Pavlicek’s tiebreaking homer in the top of the sixth. With two outs and no one on, Pavlicek lifted Norman’s 2-2 pitch over the left-field fence for the gamebreaker. According to Hunt, Pavlicek seems to have the Bobcat’s pitching down.
“Beth [Pavlicek] is an amazing player,” she said. “She’s a great hitter. Beth’s hit a few homers on the Quinnipiac Field. She has quite a reputation there.”
Pavlicek, who also hit the first home-run of her collegiate homer on the same field, thought the dimensions of the field were also a factor.
“The fences are real short and so is the field,” she said. “Which I can’t complain about.”
The Bulldogs return to Ivy league play this weekend with road games against the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday and Princeton on Sunday.
Last year, the Elis took two from the Quakers but got swept by the Tigers. The Quakers (9-20, 1-5 Ivy) are sixth in the league in batting and last in ERA. But the Bulldogs are smart enough to know that they cannot look past any Ivy League opponent no matter how abysmal they may seem on paper.
Princeton (16-13, 3-3 Ivy) is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, including a 20-inning marathon loss to the Harvard Crimson last weekend, believed to be the longest softball game in Ivy history. There is no doubt, though, that the Tigers will be rested and ready to repeat what they did last year against the Bulldogs.
The weekend’s forecast calls for sun and warmth, so weather will not be an issue. What will be the issue for the Elis is whether or not they can continue their winning ways.