SOFTBALL | Bulldogs split double-header in extra innings

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Photo by Brianne Bowen.

The softball team (5-7, 0-0 Ivy) showed a flair for the dramatic on Wednesday afternoon, going to extra innings in both legs of a doubleheader that it split with Marist (8-15).

In their third straight split against the Red Foxes, the Bulldogs brought the two schools’ all-time series to a 13-13 tie. Yale won the first game 3-2 in nine innings and lost the second 5-2 in eighth.

“These games are the best because they are really close,” pitcher Kylie Williamson ’15 said. “You know they are a tough battle, but it’s always awesome to come out on top.”

Marist had already proven its mettle against a team similar to Yale this season, having shut out Ivy powerhouse Cornell (6-8, 0–0) 6-0 earlier this month. After the split with the Red Foxes, shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 said the result, combined with the particularly strong play of the freshman class, left the team where it wants to be going into Ivy matchups against Columbia and Penn in two weeks.

The Elis began the first game against Marist with a run in the first inning. Tori Balta ’14 knocked out a single to left field, advanced to third on an overthrow and was brought home on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Christy Nelson ’13. But Marist took the lead with two runs in the top of the third. After a triple by Johnson tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth, the Elis were held scoreless for four innings. Johnson had been injured with a dislocated shoulder in October and said she is trying to hit consistently rather than go for power.

The Bulldogs left two on base in an unfulfilled sixth-inning rally, and had to wait until the ninth inning to bring their runners home. Johnson singled, stole second and advanced to third after Kelsey Warkentine ’13 grounded out. Hannah Brennan’s ’15 double down the right field line drove Johnson home to score the winning run. The bleachers erupted in cheering.

“We were really pumped and ecstatic,” Jennifer Ong ’13 said. “We knew we could win, it was just a matter of time.”

Chelsey Dunham ’14 (4-2) pitched a complete game. Dunham nabbed her fourth win of the season when she threw a season-high six strikeouts.

In the second game, Marist scored two runs by the top of the fifth. But the Bulldogs, who had no runs and only one hit for the first four innings, rallied with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to knot the score. It was Ong who plated the runs for Yale, with a two-RBI single to right field with the bases loaded.

The 2–2 deadlock at the end of the fifth held through two scoreless innings, until the Red Foxes broke the game open with three runs in the eighth. A two-run homer by Nicole DiViriglio in the extra frame provided the fireworks for Marist, and Yale could not respond. Balta managed a double in the bottom of the eighth, but she was left stranded as Yale lost by a final score of of 5-2. Williamson (0-2), in her first collegiate experience pitching extra innings, took the loss.

“We have a lot of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. We left a lot of runners on base,” Warkentine said.

The Elis will play two doubleheaders this weekend. On Saturday, they will travel to Bryant (4-13), and then they will return home to take on Providence (5-16) on Sunday.

The Marist matchup early in the season allowed the Bulldogs to continue trying out different combinations of positions prior to Ivy play, Johnson said.

“We now know that we can hang tough with other schools, especially in the Ivies,” Williamson said. “We have the skills and ability to compete with other teams.”

Yale’s game against Marist last year was cancelled due to rain.

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