With frigid temperatures, and even some snow flurries, nothing about the weather indicated that it was the first weekend in April. Instead, Yale relied on the ping of a softball bat and cheers from the dugouts to remind everyone that spring had indeed arrived.
But although Yale returned to Dewitt Family Field this weekend for the first time since March 2, the team was probably hoping for a better outcome as the Bulldogs (14-12-1, 1-3 Ivy) went 1-3 to open Ivy League play. The Elis dropped two games to Harvard (17-4, 4-0 Ivy) Sunday after splitting its doubleheader with Dartmouth (14-8, 2-2 Ivy) Saturday.
“I think we were a little intimidated,” Jillian Miles ’04 said. “We faced two tough teams right off the bat, so it’s nice to get them out of the way. We just have to stay positive.”
The Bulldogs fell to the Crimson 6-5 in the first game and 8-4 in the second. In both contests, the Elis had a chance to win, but key mistakes dashed their hopes of defeating the reigning Ivy League co-champions.
In the first game, Yale was up by 4-0 after three innings. In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs loaded the bases and then Harvard pitcher Kara Brotemarkle was called for two consecutive balks, allowing two runs to come in.
But Yale was unable to maintain the lead, as Harvard tied the score at five in the top of the seventh. Rachel Goldberg then hit a single that scored the winning run for the Crimson.
Miles took the mound for Yale in the second game, hoping to help her team bounce back from the tough loss in the first contest. But while Miles went the distance for the Bulldogs –for the second time of the weekend — her defense let her down. Yale and Harvard were again tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh when the Crimson blew the game open by scoring five runs on four Eli errors.
“We got a fairly good effort from our pitching staff,” Yale head coach Andy Van Etten said. “If we’d picked the ball up behind them, we would have been in the game.”
Harvard coach Jenny Allard said she was pleased with her team’s ability to pull out each game. The Crimson got some clutch power hitting in both games. Sarah Koppel homered twice on the afternoon, and Tiffany Whitton and Sara Williamson also hit the ball out of the park for Harvard.
“We didn’t play as well as we are capable of, but what we did well was we battled,” Allard said.
Harvard came to New Haven after sweeping a doubleheader at Brown the day before. The Crimson currently have an 11-game winning streak.
Saturday at Dewitt Family Field, the Elis split their two games with the Big Green, falling in the first game, 3-1, and then recovering to win the second, 2-1. Cara Denver ’02 pitched a complete game in the first contest, but her solid performance was not enough as Dartmouth manufactured two runs in the top of the fifth that broke a 1-1 tie and sealed the victory for the Big Green.
“We came out a little tentative, a little tight, and they came out ripping,” Van Etten said.
Dartmouth freshman Karin Edwardson improved her record to 7-0 by pitching a complete game with four hits, three walks and no earned runs.
“She’s a smart pitcher,” said captain Laura Beckert ’03, whose five hits on the weekend improved her average to .304 for the season. “She stays with her strengths and tries to keep the balls down.”
The Bulldogs bounced back in the second game, however, as Miles pitched a complete game, giving up four hits and one walk. Yale scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and that was all they needed as Miles kept the Big Green at bay the rest of the game.
“The difference [between the two games was] in the first game, we came up with some clutch hits, and in the second game, we should have scored more than one run,” Dartmouth head coach Steffany Bender said.
Yale travels to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for a doubleheader against Marist College Wednesday.