After opening the season with 16 road games, the softball team (4-14) celebrated its homecoming with a sweep of Hartford (1-8) Wednesday at Dewitt Family Field. The team remains home for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend against Fairfield and the University of Connecticut.

In the Wednesday sweep, the Elis did not allow an earned run, and two freshman hurlers picked up victories. In the opener, the Elis pulled out a 4-1 victory on the strength of a three-run fifth inning to break open a tied game. Beth Pavlicek ’06 pitched a complete game, allowing only one unearned run. In the nightcap, Peggy Hunt ’06 pitched six scoreless innings for her first career victory; the Bulldogs cruised 8-0.

The Elis were in desperate need of victories, mired in a six-game losing streak after opening the season with a seven-game skid.

“The wins were the best thing for us right now,” head coach Andy Van Etten said. “We have been playing fairly well and coming up short at the end.”

Captain Jesseka Bartholomew ’03 said defense and pitching were key.

“I was very impressed by our defensive performance,” Bartholomew said. “Our pitchers were dominating on the mound, and the defense picked up the balls that were hit.”

With a two-run single and a two-run homer in the twin bill, Bartholomew ’03 upped her all-time Yale RBI total to 84. Over the trip to Florida, she broke the previous record of 73, held by Mandy Taft ’97 and Khelia Johnson ’00. Bartholomew leads the team with a .387 batting average and 13 RBIs.

Last season, Bartholomew was team MVP and a first-team All-Ivy selection. She also was the most difficult strike-out in Division 1 softball, fanning only once in 144 at-bats. With the season still early, Bartholomew has the potential to set the bar at a high level as Yale’s softball program verges on 25 years of existence.

Van Etten praised Bartholomew’s work ethic and said she deserves all accolades she receives.

Tomorrow against the Stags (12-10) and the Huskies (8-12-1), the Bulldogs will need more of the same effort that propelled them over the Bobcats. After two long losing streaks, the Bulldogs would welcome any string of victories.

“Fairfield and UConn are both good ball clubs,” Van Etten said. “If we play like we did against Hartford, we will do very well.”