Following two consecutive Ivy League losses during the week, the Bulldogs knew this weekend’s pair of doubleheaders against first-place Dartmouth was going to be crucial to rising in the North Division standings. And although a split against a team of the Big Green’s caliber is usually a success, it most likely will not be enough to help the Elis.
Both days began with a Dartmouth (20-17, 11-5 Ivy) victory before the Bulldogs (18-22, 7-9) salvaged doubleheader splits with wins in the second half of each twin bill.
“This is a big indication of the type of team we really are,” shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 said. “We can play up against any competition. It’s unfortunate that the race is out our hands now ,but we still have a shot at finishing in first.”
EIGHT-RUN INNING ENDS OFFENSIVE DROUGHT
In game one of the four-game series, Dartmouth jumped out to 1-0 in the first inning on a Molly Khalil RBI single that scored Kirsten Costello, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. Yale responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs — on a Johnson RBI triple and a Megan Enyeart ’09 RBI single — off of Dartmouth starter Devin Lindsay.
But Lindsay settled in from there. The sophomore did not allow a run the rest of the way and surrendered just two hits over the final six innings. She struck out four Bulldogs in the complete game effort.
Pitcher Rebecca Wojciak ’09 found similar success in the circle — until the fifth inning. In the fifth, the Big Green tied the game up at two before exploding for five runs in the sixth, which included a Nikki Yee bases-clearing double.
Wojciak pitched all seven innings, allowing 10 hits, seven runs and five earned, and striking out two.
It looked like more of the same offensive struggles that had plagued Yale all week in the second game, as the team couldn’t get much of anything going against pitcher Hillary Barker.
The Dartmouth starter had gone through the first five innings without surrendering a hit and allowing just two baserunners, one on a hit-by-pitch and another on a walk.
In the sixth, the Bulldogs bats finally came alive and Yale put eight runs on the board. The onslaught began when right fielder Lauren Huddleston ’10 singled and continued on to second when a throwing error by the second baseman allowed Ashley Sloan ’10 to reach base. A Katie Yanagsiawa ’11 sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position and following the second out of the inning, the Elis registered seven consecutive two-out hits — highlighted by a Sloan two-run triple.
“It proved that we are a hitting team and that we won’t give up,” third baseman Mariclaire Rebman ’11 said of the rally.
On the other side, Deanna DiBernardi ’09 held the potent Big Green offense in check. The senior hurler went the distance, allowing just two runs, scattering five hits and striking out two — a sign of things to come.
DIBERNARDI GUTS OUT ANOTHER ‘W’
In game three of the weekend series, the first of two on Sunday, the bats came alive on both sides as the teams combined for 22 runs and 26 hits. The offenses were also aided by poor defense; Yale committed three errors and Dartmouth recorded five.
But the Big Green were able to overcome its poor defensive showing with plenty of offense — more than Yale could handle.
Yale jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and led 4-1 after two frames when Dartmouth scored the next seven runs to take an 8-4 lead.
There was some fight in the Elis though, and they scored three in the bottom of fourth to close within one before the Big Green tacked on three more in the fifth to put it out of reach. Dartmouth added one more in the seventh, and Yale staged a small rally with two runs in its final at-bat but fell short, 12-10.
Wojciak got the start again after starting Saturday’s game but came out on the losing end. The senior lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs, five earned and two walks. She struck out two.
Reliever Kayla Kuretich ’10 found more trouble of her own and, like Wojciak, wasn’t helped out by her defense. The pitcher threw the rest of the way, going four innings and allowing five runs, just two earned. She walked and struck out two.
On the other side, Lindsay got the start for the Big Green opposite Wojciak again but did not have the same success she had 24 hours earlier. Lindsay pitched just 3.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and seven runs, five earned. She walked three and struck out none. Kat Hicks, who came in relief for Lindsay, earned her fifth win of the season after scattering four hits over 3.1 innings.
Six Bulldogs had multi-hit efforts, led by designated player Katie Edwards’ ’09 three hits. Enyeart drove in four of the team’s ten runs from the cleanup spot.
While game three in the series had all the offensive firepower one could ask for, the series finale had the pitcher’s duel.
DeBernardi continued right where she left off on Saturday. She pitched her second complete game in 24 hours, this time hurling a shutout in a 1-0 Eli win to salvage a split in Sunday’s doubleheader and the weekend series.
“She’s ridiculous,” Johnson said. “She’s actually severely injured. At the beginning of the year we joked about having 2½ pitchers because she’s had an injured shoulder since then. We weren’t sure if she could go a whole season, but she’s stepped up and gone beyond our expectations.”
Yale scored the game’s lone run in the third inning when Yanagisawa drove in Sloan with an RBI single to center.
And that was all DiBernardi needed.
In her seven innings the senior scattered six hits, walked three and struck out three to shut down the Big Green, who seemed to have used up all their offense earlier in the day.
The best chance for some Dartmouth runs was in the second inning when DiBernardi allowed two consecutive singles with one out. However, she was able to get out of the inning without any damage and cruised from there.
“It was definitely a team effort, I couldn’t have done it without my defense, especially today,” DiBernardi said. “My catcher and I were on the same page as well, which is the key to winning any game. I’m really proud of us, that’s all I can say.”
The fact that the southpaw has faced arm trouble since her freshman year and continues to do so shows the type of competitor she is. Although she is supposed to be limited to a 60-70 pitch count, the senior put it all on the line, throwing close to 200 pitches in 24 hours.
“She’s playing through the pain and you would never hear a word from her about it,” Rebman said. “She’s a fighter and a competitor.”
Countering DiBernardi, like in game two of the series, was Barker. This time the Big Green starter held the Bulldogs in check all game long but was the victim of a lack of run support.
The hurler went all six innings, allowing just the one run on six hits. She did not walk a batter and struck out five.
Offensively, Johnson led the way for the Bulldogs with two hits in the game.
Although the Elis were hoping for a series win over the first-place Big Green, they know a split with the team from Hanover is not something to hang your hat on.
“Clearly we would’ve preferred to win all four games, but a split is better than four losses,” Enyeart said.
Yale next takes the field on Wednesday afternoon when the team travels to Wagner (16-26) for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. The Bulldogs finish their season next weekend when they host Brown (11-21, 5-11) on Saturday for a twin bill and travel to Providence, R.I., for two more against the Bears on Sunday.