SOFTBALL | Bulldogs split weekend

Infielder Mariclaire Rebman ’11 makes contact with the ball during Yale’s doubleheader against Army on March 27.
Infielder Mariclaire Rebman ’11 makes contact with the ball during Yale’s doubleheader against Army on March 27. Photo by Konrad Coutinho.

The softball team saw both sides of a comeback victory in its doubleheaders against Columbia and Penn over the weekend.

After defeating Columbia (6–17, 1–3 Ivy) by a score of 6–0 on Friday in the first game of a doubleheader, the Bulldogs (6–13, 2–2) came back from a five-run deficit with a six-run sixth inning to defeat the Lions 8–7.

The next day, Penn (9–12, 4–0) gave Yale a taste of its own medicine, scoring five runs in the sixth to come back from a four-run deficit to defeat the Bulldogs 5–4. The game was eerily similar to the Bulldogs’ previous win, but with the tables turned. Penn shut down the Eli offense in the second game, winning 2–0.

“It was rough,” outfielder and captain Ashley Sloan ’10 said. “We’re not going to dwell on those Penn games for too long.”

In the first game, the Bulldogs came out firing as pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 pitched a complete game, allowing zero earned runs and striking out five. Pitcher Holly Gutterud ’10 batted in three runs, while shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 went three-for-three with three runs.

The Bulldogs outhit the Lions 10–5 en route to a 6–0 victory.

But the second game would not be as easy. Columbia’s offense came alive with eight hits and seven runs through the first four innings to take a 7–2 lead. But the Elis could not be held down and instead bounced back with a six-run surge in the sixth inning.

Left-fielder Allie Canulli ’10 began the rally by working a walk. Outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10 then reached base on a fielding error. Third-baseman Christy Nelson ’13 followed with a clutch three-run homer — her third of the season — that cut the Bulldog deficit to two and got the Elis back in the game.

“I just wanted to keep my composure,” Nelson said. “I tried not to think too much about the situation.”

The Lions pulled their pitcher Maureen O’Kane and brought in Maggie Johnson. But even facing a new pitcher, the Elis still had some offense left for the inning. Meg Johnson and second-baseman Jennifer Ong ’13 walked to continue the inning. Catcher Lexi Peacock ’12 then batted in two runs with a single to tie the game, putting the winning run at the plate in Sloan. She stepped up to the pressure, hitting a single to score Peacock and give the Bulldogs a 8–7 lead they would not relinquish. Sloan went three-for-four with a run, an RBI and a stolen base.

“We left everything out on the field in that inning,” Johnson said. “It was amazing how many people stepped up for us.”

Gutterud pitched 4.1 innings of relief, giving up an earned run to earn the victory.

After the game, the team was excited, but the Elis tried to keep a level head and focus for Penn the next day, Sloan said.

At Warren Field the next day, the Bulldogs certainly seemed focused, as a pitching duel between Kuretich and Penn’s Chelsea Ott led to four scoreless innings to start the first game. The Elis finally put runs on the board in the fifth inning with three combined RBIs from Sloan and Canulli.

But Penn would have the last laugh, scoring five runs in the sixth inning, much as the Bulldogs had the day before, to take a one-run 5–4 lead.

“A lot of times, the outcome of a game depends on big innings,” Sloan said. “We just couldn’t get it together in that inning.”

The Quakers held on for the victory. Sloan and Canulli had two RBIs each while Kuretich gave up five earned runs through 5.1 innings of work.

“We all knew that we should have won that game,” Nelson said. “We just weren’t getting the key hits.”

The second game would prove even more difficult for the Elis as Penn pitcher Taylor Tieman pitched a near-flawless game, allowing zero earned runs and only four hits while striking out five batters in pitching a complete game.

Penn scored once in the first and once in the fifth, two runs that would be enough for the win.

Yale had a chance to score in the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs, but Tieman worked out of the jam. The Bulldogs found Tieman’s drop ball outside particularly difficult to hit, Nelson said.

Sloan had two hits while Gutterud gave up two earned runs through six innings of work.

Despite losing both games of the doubleheader to Penn, the team sees a great deal of positive in the games, both of which were very close and well played on both sides, Johnson said.

“We’ve shown this season that we can come back from any loss,” Nelson said. “We’ll bounce back.”

The Elis return home on Wednesday to take on the Providence Friars at Dewitt Family Field. The first pitch is slated for 2:30 p.m.

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