This past weekend brought three much-needed victories for the Yale softball team.

Yale (17-15-1, 4-4 Ivy) went 3-1, sweeping Columbia, 3-2 and 3-0, Saturday, and splitting its doubleheader with Cornell Sunday. The Bulldogs lost the first game, 2-0, before Shayna Filson ’04 hit a grand slam in the second game that helped Yale to a 9-4 victory.

For the Elis, the weekend was a welcome improvement over their first Ivy matchups. Yale came into the games 1-3 in the Ancient Eight.

“Lately we haven’t been playing as a team,” center fielder Britni Fabacher ’04 said. “Now it feels like we are one force.”

After Cornell hurler Sarah Sterman pitched a complete game shutout in the first game, the Yale batters woke up in the second contest and tallied nine runs on 10 hits.

“[In the first game,] we really could have brought it up another notch,” Fabacher said. “Once we realized [in the second game] that they weren’t the same team as last year, we just killed them.”

The Big Red (19-15, 4-4) seemed to be in control in the early going of game two, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third. But Fabacher hit an RBI double that started a five-run rally in the bottom of the third. Yale then loaded the bases, forcing Cornell head coach Dick Blood to pull starting pitcher Nicole LePera in favor of Sterman.

The move proved to be costly, as Filson, Yale’s career home run leader, sauntered up to the plate and crushed a grand slam to left field that put the Elis up, 5-4.

“I was on her pretty well the whole first game,” Filson said. “I’d already seen her three or four times, so she wasn’t going to throw anything that was going to go by me.”

The Bulldogs added four insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the big third inning was what made all the difference for Yale.

“We made a big mistake on a big pitch,” Blood said of Filson’s grand slam. “I give them a lot of credit for fighting back [from being down 4-0].”

Saturday at Dewitt Family Field, the Elis swept Columbia (19-13, 4-4), a team that had beaten Yale in Florida over spring vacation.

In game one, Cara Denver ’02 pitched her fifth shutout of the season, giving up four hits and no walks in seven innings. Denver was also the winning pitcher against Cornell, giving her a 7-4 record overall.

At the plate, all three Eli runs came in the bottom of the fifth inning. RBI doubles from captain Laura Beckert ’03 and Jackie Crispell ’03 and an RBI single from Jesseka Bartholomew ’03 gave Yale the three-run advantage.

Victory did not come quite so easily for the Bulldogs in the second game. Yale jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Lions pulled within one on a sacrifice fly from Marisa Marconi in the top of the fifth.

Columbia’s comeback was not to be, however, as Jillian Miles ’04 came in and pitched 2.2 innings of relief, keeping the Lions at bay.

“Everything fell together and every time they tried to come back, we stopped them in their tracks,” Fabacher said.

With its 3-1 weekend record, Yale moved into a fourth-place tie with Cornell in the Ivy League.

The Bulldogs now get set to take on the University of Connecticut Wednesday in Storrs.