SOFTBALL | Bulldogs take narrow losses

Christy Nelson ’13 hit a triple and three RbIs against Cornell on saturday.
Christy Nelson ’13 hit a triple and three RbIs against Cornell on saturday. Photo by Brianne Bowen.

Despite noticeable offensive improvements, the softball team could not snag a win against its Ivy League rivals this weekend.

The Bulldogs (7–21, 1–7 Ivy) fell to Princeton (9–20, 5–3 Ivy), on Friday and to Cornell (16–13, 7–1 Ivy) on Saturday for their eighth loss in a row.

“I’m looking forward to the game where our team doesn’t beat ourselves,” Meg Johnson ’12 said. “We all know what’s doable, and we keep falling short.”

On the surface, the Bulldogs made some key adjustments. They collected 18 runs and 38 hits last weekend, compared to 8 runs and 22 hits against Columbia and Penn on March 30 and 31. Furthermore, Yale managed to score early on — eight of their 11 runs against Big Red were in the first four innings.

Johnson said the team has to work on ending the inning strong defensively. Often, Johnson said, the Bulldogs have little trouble getting two outs but cannot close the inning without witnessing a rally. In fact, 15 of the 28 runs the Elis gave up were on their opponents’ third out.

“We are a team that is capable of putting runs on the board and getting hits,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, we realize we have to focus more on defense and slam the door shut.”

In the first game against Princeton, Yale waited until the fourth inning to score. Sarah Onorato ’15 started the inning with a single to center field, taking the score to 4–1 as she crossed home plate. But the Bulldogs could not deliver any more runs and left runners on second and third at the inning’s conclusion.

At the bottom of the seventh, Yale was down 6–1. Although Johnson and Tori Balta ’14 scored, the Elis could not make up the deficit and ended the game 6–3.

The second game panned out in a remarkably similar fashion. Again, the Bulldogs waited until late in the game to score and gathered their first run in the fifth inning. Yale scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh but could not win the game, and the Elis lost 6–4.

“When a couple things went wrong, we got a little scared,” Riley Hughes ’15 said. “I think we need to keep our mental composure when things don’t go our way.”

Outhitting Cornell in both games, the Bulldogs performed better on Saturday. But Cornell still managed to sweep the Elis 8–6, 8–5.

The Bulldogs took a sizeable 5–0 lead in the first two innings of the opening game with singles from Balta, Hughes, Jennifer Ong ’13 and Kylie Williamson ’15 alongside a three-RBI triple by captain Christy Nelson ’13. An additional run for Yale in the sixth left Cornell down 6–3 at the top of the seventh. But the Big Red came back with a five-run inning, including two home runs, and the Bulldogs could not respond.

“We couldn’t go out there and finish it,” Kelsey Warkentine ’13 said. “We scored runs and then sat on them.”

In the second game, Yale again took an early lead, 1–0 at the bottom of the first thanks to a triple by Balta to right center field. But Cornell responded with eight runs in the next five innings, and the Elis’ comeback fell short with just a run each in the sixth and seventh innings.

Cornell, Johnson said, is notorious for its rotational hitting style, which drives in more home runs. It is the only school in the Ivy Leagues to adopt such a style, she added. In the first game, the hitting style was incredibly successful, and drove in seven of Big Red’s eight runs.

Although Johnson said the team’s energy has run low, Hughes said the players have remained supportive of each other.

“Every time someone got a hit, everyone would get so pumped up and so excited, and just seeing that fire and passion from the team was a highlight for me,” Hughes said.

The Bulldogs next face Wagner (10–26) at home on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

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