SOFTBALL | Bulldogs begin Ivy play at home this weekend

Outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10 makes a play on the ball during Yale’s home doubleheader against Army on March 27.
Outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10 makes a play on the ball during Yale’s home doubleheader against Army on March 27. Photo by Konrad Coutinho.

It’s a new season for the softball team. The Bulldogs (4–11) hope to bring a new intensity as they begin Ivy League play this weekend when they host doubleheaders against Columbia (5–14) on Friday and Penn (5–12) on Saturday.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 3–1 loss to Fairfield on Wednesday. In a second game against Fairfield that afternoon, the Bulldogs were leading 9–3 after three and a half innings before the game was cancelled early due to darkness.

“Being able to bounce back is the sign of a good team,” outfielder and captain Ashley Sloan ’10 said. “We were able to do that against Fairfield.”

Despite the second game not counting, the Elis view their 16 hits on offense in the game as a positive sign going into this weekend.

“It was huge to end with our bats coming alive,” catcher Lexi Peacock ’12 said. “It was the perfect way to go into Columbia on Friday.”

Columbia is coming off a 8–5 loss to Manhattan on Saturday while Penn is coming off a doubleheader sweep over La Salle on Wednesday. Last season, Yale swept Columbia in a doubleheader before being swept by Penn the next day.

The Bulldogs are led by Sloan, who leads the team in batting average (.294), runs scored (six), hits (15), and stolen bases (five). Outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10, first-team All-Ivy last season, has also stepped up her play as the crucial conference schedule has approached, hitting .462 in her last four games.

The Elis have received a big boost from utility player Christy Nelson ’13, who is second on the team in batting average (.282) and leads the team in home runs with two.

Pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 anchors the pitching crew for Yale. Kuretich, whose streak of 18 innings without giving up an earned run ended in the first Fairfield game, leads the team in ERA (2.15), innings (42.1) and strikeouts (44).

Pitcher Holly Gutterud ’10 has the best win-loss record of Yale pitchers at 2–2, with an ERA of 2.90.

Overall, the Elis are confident going into Ivy League play. Despite struggles throughout the first part of the season, the team hopes to use its experience to do better in conference play.

“Everyone is really excited for this,” Sloan said. “We’ve learned a lot this season, and we’re ready to go.”

Both doubleheaders will begin at 2 p.m at Dewitt Family Field.

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