The young Yale softball team is building on each game.
The Bulldogs (9-11) let the front end of a doubleheader with Rhode Island (5-16) get away from them yesterday, losing 4-3, but rebounded nicely in the second game and managed to hold off the Rams to win 4-3.
“It was good to get a split,” head coach Andy Van Etten said. “We’re learning as we go along.”
After losing the first one-run contest, Yale was able score just enough runs early in the second game for the freshmen pitching tandem of Jillian Miles and Shayna Filson.
Miles started for the Bulldogs and pitched well early, not allowing a runner past second in the first three innings. But Yale appeared to be similarly stymied, as Ram pitcher Lee-Anne Stanovich retired the first five Elis in order.
But with two down in the bottom of the second, Leah Kelley ’04 began a two-out Bulldog rally with single to center. And after Amy Drega ’03 was hit by a pitch, Filson, playing right field at the time, followed with a three-run home run to left that put Yale in front.
“It was a great clutch hit by Shayna [Filson],” captain Monica Lebron ’01 said. “We’re starting to see that anyone on this team is capable of coming through with a big hit.”
The Bulldogs then added another run in the third inning when Laura Beckert ’03 doubled in Alice Liu ’01.
URI responded quickly, however, scoring once in the fourth and then twice in the fifth to pull within one. After Stanovich retired the next three Bulldogs in order in the bottom of the fifth, the Rams began to threaten in the top of the sixth.
With a runner on first and one out, Filson relieved Miles and put an end to the URI rally. Filson retired the next five consecutive batters — three on strikeouts — to earn the save and preserve the win for Yale.
“I basically threw one pitch — my curveball — to every batter,” Filson said. “And luckily, it was working and I was able to get some outs.”
The Bulldogs weren’t so lucky in the opener. Yale came close, but wasn’t able to pull out the victory.
“We had our opportunities [in the first game], but we didn’t do the little things [that win ballgames],” Van Etten said. “We didn’t advance the runner three times, and that was one of the reasons we lost.”
Yale got on the board first when Beckert scored on a Drega single to left in the second inning. URI responded, scoring a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take a 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs came back with a rally of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Yale opened the sixth inning with four straight singles, the last of which came off the bat of Beckert to score Liu. Kristen Maturo ’01 then scored one out later when Drega reached on a fielder’s choice. URI then ended the bases-loaded threat with an inning-ending double play.
And in the top of the seventh inning, URI right fielder Cristine Tindall homered to left to put the Rams in front for good.
Although they failed to sweep the doubleheader, the Bulldogs will look to build on yesterday’s win when they host Sacred Heart for a doubleheader Friday.
“We’re starting to believe we can get it done,” Lebron said. “We know we can beat any team when we play well.”