Providence pounds softball in rain

Another pair of non-conference losses extends the softball team’s longest losing streak of the year to eight games.

After Yale (18-20, 3-13 Ivy) coughed up six errors in a 7-1 loss to Providence College (20-18), the Elis fell well short of the Providence squad’s superior bats in a second blowout, 8-0. The Bulldogs’ two games epitomized their problems this season. When their pitching was on, they made too many errors, and when the fielding was nearly perfect, they could not get on base.

The first contest saw the Friars take a 6-0 lead in the third inning off of four Yale defensive errors. Providence added a one-run homer in the sixth, and the Elis’ lone fourth-frame run was a paltry effort at digging themselves out of the deficit.

“I think today was mostly mental errors,” pitcher Deanna DiBernardi ’09 said. “They weren’t physical errors as much as not thinking in the situation.”

The Bulldogs did hit the ball well — they racked up nine hits — but were unable to score and left 10 on base. The pitchers did not have poor outings either, only giving up three earned runs in the first game, but the team’s errors ultimately sunk it.

The second game yesterday looked a lot like the ugly series finale in Hanover last Sunday, as the Elis once again fell in a five-inning, eight-run mercy rule contest. This time the defense was nearly flawless, but a pair of pitchers let in five earned runs and the Bulldogs could only manage a double and a single off the Friars.

Providence shortstop Jenna Garcia set the tone for the afternoon, slugging homers in both the third and fourth innings.

“The second game was a struggle,” DiBernardi said. “The other team was hitting the ball, and we just couldn’t get it done at the plate. When we were hitting the ball, we were hitting it hard but hitting it right at people. The whole field was one big catcher’s mitt.”

The Elis will be heading back to Rhode Island this Saturday for a pair of games at Brown — hoping for a better result against the last-place team — before returning to New Haven to play the second half of the series. Brown is having a dismal season, unable to duplicate their even 6-6 record in the Ancient Eight last year. The Bears have the lowest team batting average in the conference, and the squad’s best hitter bats .271, a full 100 points behind Yale leader Katie Edwards ’09 (.373).

“We need to pick our heads up,” outfielder Allie Canulli ’10 said. “We just want to end on a high note and just go out there and do our best, and hopefully get four wins — especially for the seniors.”

Brown’s pitching staff does not lend much help to its ailing bats, as all three regular pitchers throw above 4.00. The Bears give up a lot of runs, including a league-high 59 doubles, but the staff’s respectable control on the mound limits the number of bases due to balls.

The Elis always seem to be missing something, as was illustrated yesterday. If a pitcher throws well, the team has trouble inside the batter’s box, and vice versa. Against Harvard two weeks ago, the Bulldogs pitched well but could not get runners home. Last weekend at Dartmouth, the squad recorded six runs on 16 hits, but the staff couldn’t hold back the Big Green’s ability at the plate.

“It’s a little late in the season now [to be perfecting their game],” Yale head coach Barbara Reinalda said. “Hopefully, this weekend we’ll keep hitting and our defense will come back.”

Going into the final weekend of the season with hopes of hanging on to third place in the North Division, the Elis will look to prey on the Ancient Eight bottom-dwellers in a home-and-home series. The Bulldogs first play in Providence on Saturday before a 1 p.m. start on Sunday at DeWitt Family Field.

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