Softball drops to .500 after four losses last week

After amassing a strong record during the first week of spring break in Florida, including a 22-4 win over Siena, Yale softball suffered four losses last week, two on Thursday and two on Saturday, to drop to .500.

Despite strong pitching and solid defense from the Bulldogs (8-8, 0-0 Ivy), Yale lost twice on Saturday against the Marist Red Foxes (8-12). The two tough losses — first 2-1, then 1-0 — came after Marist scored a home run in each game, which shifted the tide in the Red Foxes’ favor.

In the first game, pitcher Rebecca Wojciak ’09 allowed only seven hits and two runs, but one was a home run in the fifth inning, which ultimately paved the way to the Red Foxes’ victory.

The Bulldogs were trailing 2-0 in the seventh inning and rallied from behind, but their sole run was not enough. Lauren Huddleston ’10 scored after hitting a double to right field, moving to third on a wild pitch and coming home on a ground out by Mariclaire Rebman ’10.

The Elis faced some trouble from the curveballs and inside pitches of Marist’s lefty pitcher, Megan Rigos. After eight strikeouts the first time through the lineup, the Elis adjusted to the lefty’s throws by looking for the inside pitches and hitting early, and Rigos was only able to strike out two more Bulldogs, catcher Katie Edwards ’09 said.

“We played really well and had some really bright moments,” Edwards said, “but the reason we lost was because the adjustments we made weren’t enough.”

Captain and shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 added, “They weren’t making good contact with our pitchers, so it kind of sucks to lose games just because of one hit.”

Strong pitching from the Bulldogs continued in the second game as KR Ling ’10 allowed only two hits from the Red Foxes.

Wojciak, who pitched the first game, had told Ling that Marist struggled with hitting low, so Ling said she aimed to throw curveballs, screwballs and dropped curves. In addition to recording four strikeouts, Ling did not allow any pop-flies and made all Red Fox hitters either strike out or ground out.

The defense in both games was solid as well. Edwards said the team kept errors to a minimum — two in the first game and one in the second. Players also cited a strong defense supporting the Bulldog pitchers from behind.

“Our pitchers put in great performances — they don’t strike out as many players because they rely on our defense,” Torres explained. “We have a lot of confidence in our defense and put a lot of trust in it because our defense has been doing well.”

But while the Elis have strong pitching and defense, they are aiming to improve their offense in time for Ivy League competition, which starts with Penn this weekend. In their first game, the Bulldogs had players on base in every inning except one. In the fifth inning, the Elis nearly scored when Allie Canulli ’10 led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Courtney Blachford ’08. Katie Yanagisawa ’10 then hit a long fly ball, seemingly a chance for Canulli to score, but the Red Foxes caught the pop-fly at the fence for the Bulldogs’ third out.

Players said the close losses of both one-run games made for a disappointing weekend. The Bulldogs’ single run in both games is something the team is hoping to improve on, Ling added.

“Our offense is a little stagnant, and going into Ivy season, that’s our main focus,” Ling said. “You can’t win a doubleheader with just one run.”

She added, “We wait until the seventh inning, and then we’ll start getting hits when it’s our last chance. We’ll have the bases loaded, but we don’t end up scoring, so that’s been frustrating. We need to take advantage of every opportunity the other team gives us.”

In their first games after spring break, the Bulldogs will be playing a doubleheader against Army at home on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

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