SOFTBALL | Canulli hero in win

No caption.
No caption. Photo by Konrad Coutinho.

Timely hits have been an issue this season for the softball team. But not for third-baseman Allie Canulli ’10.

Canulli slammed a two-run RBI single into center field, helping the Bulldogs (4–10) to a 4–1 victory over the Army Black Knights (10–8) in the first game of a doubleheader. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, sloppy defense, including six errors, led to a 7–2 loss to Army in the second game, tarnishing Yale’s hope-opener.

“It was good to finally play at home,” pitcher Holly Gutterud ’10 said. “We wanted two wins, but we see these games as a stepping stone for Ivy League play.”

The Bulldogs started the first game with the excitement of a home-opener, as Gutterud gave up zero hits in the top of the first inning while outfielder and captain Ashley Sloan ’10 employed savvy base-running in stealing home in the bottom of the inning to give Yale a 1–0 lead.

Army scored a run in the third inning to tie the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with two runners on base and two outs, Canulli slugged the biggest hit of the game, scoring two runs and giving the Bulldogs a 3–1 lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

“The best thing to do is to make it simple,” Canulli said about timely hits. “I just tried to black out the rest of the situation and focus on the pitch.”

Gutterud pitched a complete game, striking out six and giving up only one earned run. It was her second win of the season.

Gutterud frustrated the Army offense primarily with her change-up pitch, which kept Army off guard, catcher McKynlee Westman ’11 said.

The second game would not be so easy. In the top of the first inning, Army capitalized on two Bulldog errors and ineffective pitching from pitcher Jackie Manzer ’13 to score three runs.

“Sometimes pitching just doesn’t work,” Westman said. “We were also experimenting different defensive positions, so we weren’t quite gelled yet, causing errors. And errors can be contagious.”

Errors plagued the Elis the rest of the game, as the team committed six total errors during the game, leading to four unearned runs.

The Blue also struggled on offense. Despite outhitting Army 11–8, the Bulldogs stranded 11 baserunners. The Eli offense only managed to score two runs in the seventh inning — too little too late.

Manzer gave up six hits and three earned runs through two innings of work before being replaced by pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10, who pitched five innings, gave up zero earned runs and struck out four. Kuretich has a 1.83 ERA this season.

Westman and Sloan each had an RBI during the seventh inning. First-baseman Meg Johnson ’12 and designated hitter Mariclaire Rebman ’11 each had two hits during the game.

The Elis travel to Fairfield on Wednesday for a doubleheader. Ivy League play will begin for the Bulldogs this coming weekend at Columbia and Penn.

“Hopefully we can get two wins on Wednesday going into Ivy League play,” Canulli said. “We’re taking it one game at a time.”

Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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