SOFTBALL | Providence walks off with two wins

The softball team lost in the toughest way possible on Wednesday — twice.

The Bulldogs (7–15, 1–3 Ivy) dropped a doubleheader at Providence (15–20), losing both games on walk-off hits — one a grand slam, the other a single. The Elis fell to the Friars 12–10 in the opener and 2–1 in the nightcap.

“It’s always tough to lose in the bottom of the seventh inning,” captain and catcher McKynlee Westman ’11 said. “We worked our butts off to come back and get 10 runs in [the sixth] inning [in the opener] and then lost that in the seventh, and then battled the entire second game with one run, keeping them at zero. That’s a pretty tough softball game.”

In the first game, the Bulldogs used a 10-run sixth inning to come back from a 7–0 deficit, but Providence shortstop Justine Stratton hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Friars to victory.

Stratton was a constant thorn in Yale’s side, going 4-for-5 and finishing with three homers and seven RBIs.

For Yale, Westman went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while first baseman Mariclaire Rebman ’11 and right fielder Jennifer Ong ’13 each knocked in two runs for the Bulldogs.

Providence jumped out to an early 2–0 lead in the first after a double from Michelle Huber was followed by a home run off the bat of Stratton.

The Friars made it 4–0 in the second. Providence loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly by Jen Abrams knocked in one run. The Friars got another run on an RBI single from Huber. The home team also scored three runs in the fourth to open up a 7–0 lead.

Still, the Bulldogs rallied in the sixth to not only get back in the game, but to take the lead. After loading the bases with no outs, the Elis got on the board when Westman singled to drive in two runs. Yale cut the deficit to 7–4 on an RBI single by Ong and also got two runs on a pair of Providence miscues. Rebman kept the rally alive with a two-run single, and Westman capped the scoring by driving in two runs with an RBI double that gave the Elis a 10–7 lead.

“Hitting is contagious,” Ong said. “Once we got the rally going, I think it was contagious and everybody caught on to it and everybody wanted to be a part of it.”

Stratton’s solo shot in the bottom of the sixth pulled the Friars within two, but it was her home run in the seventh that really made the difference. After Providence loaded the bases on a walk and two base hits, Stratton hit a walk-off grand slam to left center to give the Friars the 12–10 victory.

Providence took the nightcap in a similar fashion. Though Yale led 1–0 for most of the game, the Friars scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to emerge with the 2–1 win.

Providence spoiled a strong performance from pitcher Kristen Leung ’14, who held the Friars scoreless through six innings and allowed only four hits.

The Bulldogs were limited to just four hits in the second game: singles by shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 and second baseman Katie Yanagisawa ’11 and two hits from Ong.

The Elis’ lone run came in the second inning after Johnson walked to lead off the frame and moved to third on two groundouts. She then scored on a passed ball to give the Bulldogs a 1–0 lead.

Though the Friars put together some scoring chances throughout the game, they didn’t break through until the bottom of the seventh. Megan McCann opened the inning with a walk and then stole second to move into scoring position. Providence tied the game at 1–1 on an RBI double from Abrams. The next batter, Huber, then drove in Abrams with a game-winning single to give Providence the win.

“It is really tough to lose both, but it’s also great to see us come back after being down seven runs,” Westman said. “I think it showed a lot of fighting spirit.”

The Bulldogs are back in action this weekend, hosting doubleheaders against Penn, Columbia and Rhode Island at Dewitt Family Field. The weekend kicks off Friday at 2 p.m. against Penn and continues on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with a twinbill against Columbia. Yale closes out the weekend with a pair of games against Rhode Island, which are slated to begin at 12 p.m.

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