Softball, facing a familiar foe, splits a road twin bill

When the softball team’s offense gets hot and catches good breaks, watch out.

The Bulldogs (17-24-1, 4-12 Ivy) hosted a doubleheader against Wagner (26-17) yesterday, winning the first game 11-3 and losing the second 2-1, with a different batch of luck on the offensive side making the difference.

Yale had faced the Seahawks over spring break during the Rebel Games down in Florida, where the Elis triumphed 14-4.

“Our offense really came in to play today, and we were hitting really hard and right at the gaps during that first game,” pitcher Deanna DiBernardi ’09 said. “The second game we were hitting just the same, only we were hitting right at them, which was a bit unfortunate.”

The Bulldogs started the afternoon with the first run. After a string of successful hits, Tracy Timm ’10 scored Yale’s first run and gave the home team the early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Wagner caught up in the following inning, but Yale pulled away with another run in the bottom of the third, and four more runs in the fifth.

The Bulldogs showed off their improved hitting — and bunting — en route to five hits in the fifth inning. After Courtney Blachford ’08 and Ashley Sloan ’10 singled and moved into scoring position off a sacrifice bunt from Katie Yanagisawa ’11, captain Aracelis Torres ’08 singled to bat in her two teammates. With more singles from Timm and Mariclaire Rebman ’11 and a fly-out from Allie Canulli ’10, both Torres and Rebman scored to bring Yale to a 6-1 lead.

“We were very aggressive with our offense and taking advantage of opportunities when we had people in scoring position,” Torres explained. “We were getting good hits and we were getting our runners in.”

The Yale defense limited Wagner’s rally in the sixth inning to only two runs and the Bulldog offense followed with strategic hitting that echoed their successful fifth inning. A string of singles gave the Elis five more runs in the bottom of the sixth, ending the game 11-3 with the mercy rule.

Game two was scoreless until the fifth, when Wagner scored two runs — a lead the Seahawks held until the end. The Bulldogs came close to scoring in the fourth inning, but were unable to bring any runners home. Megan Enyeart ’09 tried to score from third base, but a swift defensive play from Wagner’s shortstop to home plate prevented the Bulldogs from scoring. After a ground out, the inning ended with three Elis stranded on base.

“We had a lot of hits, but not timely hits — we left a lot of people on base,” Timm explained. “People would get on base and we’d bunt them over, but we just couldn’t seem to get it down in the end.”

In the second game, Yale came through with 12 hits to Wagner’s five.

“It’s frustrating to have runners so close and to see those opportunities, but not be able to get them in,” Torres said. “It was definitely frustrating that we had so many opportunities but couldn’t come through, and in one of the few times they had players on base, they just came through.”

Yale rallied with a run in the last frame, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Seahawks. Blachford singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and made it to third off Sloan’s ground out. With a single from Yanagisawa, Blachford then scored Yale’s only run of the game. Torres’ single put two Bulldogs on base, but the inning ended before the Elis could score the run that would have kept them in the game.

Despite the close loss in the second game, players said they are focusing on the team’s improved offense throughout the day.

“We had a much better day today in terms of hitting and that will give us more confidence going into our last weekend,” Timm said.

The Bulldogs will return to Ivy League play a final time this weekend, facing Brown for two games in Providence and two more in New Haven.

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