SOFTBALL: Bulldogs struggle in Florida

The softball team had a busy spring break, playing in two tournaments that featured games against top tier teams in preparation for the upcoming Ivy League season.

The Elis (3–13, 0–0 Ivy) traveled to Florida during the first week of spring break to face a difficult slate of opponents including Central Michigan — who advanced to the NCAA tournament last season. The Bulldogs faced many teams that were well into their seasons; Yale’s first two adversaries on March 11, Central Michigan and South Florida, had played a combined 47 games while the Elis were playing in only their fourth and fifth games of the season. The Bulldogs struggled over the break, posting a record of 2–11.

Playing at South Florida in their first games of the break, the Bulldogs certainly held their own against their more seasoned opponents with a strong effort from their pitching staff, which held South Florida to just two runs over the seven inning game. In the end, however, Yale was unable to put runs on the board, losing to Central Michigan 7–0 and South Florida 2–0.

Yale headed to Orlando the next day to face nationally prominent opponents Florida Atlantic and Central Florida. The team scored against Florida Atlantic in the first inning, but was limited to four hits in the game, eventually falling 10–1. Against Central Florida, the team again was held to four hits, losing 4–0 after stranding six runners on base.

The team then participated in the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament, which ran from March 14 to 16 in Clearwater. The Bulldogs picked up their first win of the trip on March 14, defeating Butler 4–2 behind a two-hitter from pitcher Chelsey Dunham ’14. The game also featured a double from designated hitter Carolyn McGuire ’17 and a triple from catcher Sarah Onorato ’15, each plating two runs. Earlier in the day, the Bulldogs had lost to Wisconsin-Green Bay 2–0 even though pitcher Lindsay Efflandt ’17 had another solid outing, allowing no earned runs.

The next day, the Elis picked up their second win of the trip and third win of the season, defeating Seton Hall 5–2. After trailing 2–0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, Yale came alive to score five runs. Pitcher Rhydian Glass ’16 picked up her first win of the season, yielding four hits in her complete game effort. In the second game of the day the Bulldogs’ bats were stifled, and Penn State pitcher Christy von Pusch took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Yale finished the game with only one hit, losing 5–0.

In its final Florida game, Yale faced Central Michigan again, which pounded out 13 hits en route to a 6–1 victory.

“It was great for the team to play in Florida in warmer weather,” Dunham said. “The girls were able to start to get their swings going and the defense was finally able to play on a dirt field.”

The Bulldogs then returned home for their home opener against Providence, which was set to occur on March 19. But the double header was cancelled due to field conditions, and the Elis began to prepare for the Yale Invitational, which featured games against Bryant and Boston University.

The Elis, hosting the tournament at Pioneer Park at Sacred Heart, fell to Bryant in a 15–6 loss on the morning of March 22 before showing resilience against Boston University, falling 3–2 in eight innings. The next day, facing the same opponents, the Bulldogs were unable to reverse the results, losing to Boston University 13–2 and Bryant 6–4.

Yale will have a double header at Fairfield on Wednesday before opening its Ivy League slate. According to Glass, the team is excited to begin conference play and face Harvard and Penn, especially.

“They’re consistently top performing teams in the league [Penn won Ivies and competed in the NCAA tournament last season], and beating them would be fantastic,” Glass said in an email to the News.

Onorato concurred, noting that Harvard will be a big game for the team, and that she believes that the squad is good enough to compete with any team in the league.

The Elis will begin conference play at Penn, the defending Ivy League champions, on Friday and will face Columbia on Saturday.

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