Elis look to improve Ivy record

Buoyed by its sweep of Providence on Wednesday, the softball team hopes to redeem itself among the Ancient Eight this weekend.

The Bulldogs (27-17, 2-6 Ivy) host Columbia (20-21-1, 3-5) on Saturday, followed by Cornell (20-20, 6-2) on Sunday. After losing doubleheaders against both the Lions and the Big Red last year, the Elis hope to ride the momentum from their wins against the Friars to some much-needed Ivy victories.

If they continue to play at the high level they demonstrated on Wednesday — when they topped Providence, 6-4 and 9-5 — anything is possible, team members said.

“This weekend, we have to do what we did really well on Wednesday, which was timely hitting and hitting with runners on,” second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 said. “When we do that, we’re always really successful.”

Still, both the Bulldogs and Providence got off to a slow start in the first game, with Providence taking a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning. But the Bulldogs countered with a six-run sixth inning, capped by catcher Katie Edward’s ’09 three-run home run.

In the second game, Providence took a quick 1-0 lead in the first, but once again, the Bulldogs rallied with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Elis added three more runs onto their lead in the second, finishing with shortstop Aracelis Torres’s ’08 two-run homer. Although the Friars answered by scoring once in the third, twice in the fourth and once in the fifth, the Bulldogs crushed their rally with a three-run sixth inning.

Torres said she hopes the Bulldogs can continue their hitting steak this weekend.

“We finally had that offensive outburst,” she said. “As hitters, we knew that a lot of us were due.”

It will not be an easy weekend for the Bulldogs, as both opponents have had solid seasons this spring, and the Elis have not had much luck lately against Ivy League teams: The team lost a doubleheader to Princeton and split doubleheaders with Penn and Harvard. Last year, the Elis, in the midst of a lackluster overall season, were defeated by Columbia and Cornell — they dropped a doubleheader to the Lions, 8-0 and 3-2, and were shut out by Cornell, 1-0 and 5-0.

“Columbia and Cornell have been pretty competitive teams,” Torres said. “We’ve had real close games with them in the previous years and we’re pretty much expecting the same thing this year.”

On Sunday, the Lions crushed Penn in both games, 8-0 and 9-1. Columbia’s strong offense produced 17 runs and 26 hits in the doubleheader sweep and was backed by pitcher Jackie Adelfio’s shutout in the first game.

Although the Big Red was swept by Syracuse, 6-2 and 6-1, on Wednesday, they have been successful in the Ivy League. Torres said Cornell’s pitching staff has excelled this spring and leads the Ivy League in strikeouts.

With nearly 45 games under their belts, team members said maintaining their drive toward the end of the season is crucial.

“We still go out there and plan on winning every game, regardless if we have a chance to win Ivies or not,” right fielder Kyli Hanson ’09 said. “We’re certainly not a team that enjoys losing.”

With victories this weekend, the Bulldogs could move up to the middle of the pack within the Ivy League.

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