Friday and Saturday were almost identical for the Yale softball team.
The Bulldogs played two doubleheaders this weekend, losing the two openers in extra innings and then rebounding to win the back end of each twin bill.
Yale (18-17, 4-4 Ivy) split games with Princeton (12-11, 3-5) Friday, dropping the first game 4-1 in eight innings, and winning the second 6-3. Saturday, the team lost to Pennsylvania (12-22, 2-6) 3-0 in nine innings in the opener but defeated the Quakers 3-1 to close out the weekend.
“It was nice to come back and win both days,” head coach Andy Van Etten said. “But the parity in the Ivies is just amazing. Every team is capable of winning.”
The Bulldogs, who were playing in their new stadium for the first time this season, received four very solid pitching performances over the weekend but struggled somewhat offensively. The Bulldog hitting, which Van Etten characterized as “anemic”, averaged fewer than five hits per game.
In the final game of the weekend, Yale got all of its hits early, and pitcher Jillian Miles ’04 was able to control the Quaker lineup en route to the 3-1 victory.
The Bulldogs took full advantage of a Pennsylvania error in the first inning to score all three runs in the opening frame. After Alice Lui ’01 singled and Jesseka Bartholomew ’03 walked, Shayna Filson ’04 hit a weak grounder to the pitcher. In trying to make the force-out at third, Pennsylvania’s Becky Ranta threw the ball away, allowing Lui to score easily and the runners to advance to second and third.
Laura Beckert ’03 and Leah Kelley ’04 followed with RBI singles to take Yale to a 3-0 lead. Miles took over from there, allowing only an unearned run in the second while scattering five hits and striking out two in the complete game victory. The freshman pitcher, who has won four straight decisions, improved to 6-4 on the season.
“I was very excited to pitch on the new field,” Miles said. “My ball was moving well and I was hitting my spots. Also, the team was playing great defense — it was a real team effort.”
In Saturday’s opener, Cara Denver ’02 pitched very strongly as well, but the Bulldogs couldn’t manage any runs against the Quakers’ Nicole Borgstadt as Pennsylvania won 3-0 in nine innings. Denver held the opposition scoreless for the game’s first eight innings, but the Quakers scored three in the top of the ninth for the shutout victory.
“My heart goes out to Cara,” Van Etten said. “She goes nine innings and holds them at bay — but sometimes you pitch well and still lose.”
Friday’s doubleheader followed the same line as Saturday’s.
Denver came out with a strong performance against Princeton, but Yale could only manage one run in the 4-1 eight-inning defeat. Denver held the Tigers to one run through seven innings, but Princeton’s Brianne Galiciano allowed only Liu to score on a Bartholomew single and the game moved on to extra innings. The Tigers then scored three runs in the top of the eighth for the win.
Denver pitched a total of 17 innings on the weekend, surrendering only seven runs — six of which came in extra innings –and striking out six.
“Our pitching was excellent all weekend,” captain Monica Lebron ’01 said. “We just couldn’t string the hits along when we had people on base.”
Yale had its best offensive outing in the second game against Princeton as the team scored six runs on seven hits for the 6-3 victory.
Bartholomew drove in two runs, and Lebron and Liu both added an RBI for the Bulldogs while Filson went the distance on the mound, giving up four hits and striking out five.
The Elis are in fourth place in the Ivy League, but hope to improve this week when they take on fifth-place Brown, third-place Harvard and second-place Dartmouth.
Yale next travels to Providence Wednesday for a doubleheader with the Bears before closing out its Ivy schedule in Boston and Hanover over the weekend.
“It’s unfortunate that we dropped two games this weekend,” Lebron said. “But we can’t dwell on the past. We have to move forward and focus on the next six games.”