The softball team will begin the second half of its conference schedule against the North Division defending champions Big Green on Saturday afternoon.
Yale (5–23, 1–7 Ivy) will face stiff competition against Ancient Eight foe Dartmouth (19–13, 8–0). The Bulldogs have a tough task ahead of them this weekend, when they will play a team that remains undefeated in the Ivy League this season.
“Dartmouth is always a tough opponent,” said catcher Sarah Onorato ’15. “I think we need to just continue to get cuts in the next two days and get as many reps as we can for our defense to keep moving in the right direction to get a few wins this weekend.”
Last season, the Big Green claimed the North Division title with a 15–5 record before falling to Penn in the Ivy League Championship Series. The Elis will look to reverse last year’s results, when they were swept on the weekend falling 10–1, 10–8 in eight innings, 5–0 and 8–0 in five innings.
Dartmouth has gotten off to a hot start this year, sweeping South Division adversaries Cornell, Princeton, Columbia and Penn in four two-game series. In its last conference game, the Big Green showed off its offensive prowess, defeating defending Ivy League champion Penn 12–1 in five innings.
Yale’s pitchers will have to contend with a difficult lineup from Dartmouth that features five players batting above 0.300 and a team average of 0.288. Current Ivy League Player of the Week pitcher Morgan McCalmon is hitting 0.455 for the Big Green while contributing to a pitching staff that is led by pitcher Kristen Rumley. Rumley leads the team with 22 appearances and 17 games started, including 10 shutouts and a 2.08 earned run average in 114.2 innings pitched. McCalmon is second with 51.1 innings pitched and a 2.86 earned run average.
The Bulldogs will need to match their offensive output from Wednesday afternoon, when the team poured out 10 hits the first game and nine hits the second. The Elis scored nine runs in their doubleheader against Hartford, which is its highest total over a two game span this season.
Yale is currently hitting 0.214 as a team, with only one player hitting over 0.300. Captain and center fielder Tori Balta ’14 is leading the team with a 0.382 batting average, a 0.435 on base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. Balta also initiates pressure on the defense as she has 11 stolen bases on the year. Both Onorato and middle infielder Laina Do ’17 had break out games against Hartford. They will look to continue their success in the batter’s box against the Big Green.
In the pitcher’s circle, the team will turn to Lindsay Efflandt ’17, who leads the staff with a 2.37 earned run average in 68.0 innings pitched. She tossed four innings of shutout relief in the second game of the doubleheader against Hartford on Wednesday afternoon, yielding only two hits to a team that scored six runs in the first two innings. With four games slated for the weekend, the team will also turn to other members of its experienced pitching staff, which includes seniors Chelsey Dunham ’14 and Kristen Leung ’14 as well as sophomore Rhydian Glass ’16.
Onorato said that playing teams in the Elis’ division is interesting since they play four games in a two-day span. Each team will be very familiar with the other team by the end of the weekend.
“Seeing a pitcher multiple times will definitely be an advantage for our hitters,” Balta said. “It will also give us the chance to make adjustments throughout the weekend.”
Onorato added that it will also be an advantage in terms of getting to know the other team’s hitters, noting that the teams that adjusts better usually comes out on top.
The Bulldogs travel to Dartmouth for a four-game series, which will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.