Another day, another split for the softball team.
The Bulldogs (6-12) played the second doubleheader of their two-week homestand yesterday, taking on the St. John’s Red Storm (12-16). The Elis dropped the early game 2-0, but recovered in the second contest with some late-inning heroics to win, 2-1.
The Bulldogs have yet to sweep a doubleheader this season, taking only the second game of all three doubleheaders that the Elis have played. While team members were disappointed with their lack of offensive production behind a strong performance from pitcher Ashley Linnenbank ’06 in the first game, they were pleased with their ability to come back and win the second.
“I certainly think we were a little disappointed,” shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 said. “Ashley pitched a great game. But we pulled through for the second game with a great win.”
The hero of the Bulldog win was center fielder Libby Peters ’05. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Peters lined a single to right to score right fielder Niki Haab ’07 from second. Haab had hit a one-out single and taken second base on a passed ball.
Peters was 2-for-3 in the victory, and was also one of only three Bulldogs to get a hit off of St. John’s Lisa Geer in the early game.
Peggy Hunt ’06 recorded the complete game for the Elis to notch her team-high third win. Hunt allowed seven hits, one walk and one earned run in seven innings of work, and while her single strikeout was slightly fewer than her season-high 13 last Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson, she left the mound today with a win — her first since March 12.
“The 13 strikeouts helped me feel better after the game, in the sense that, ‘Oh, I didn’t throw too badly,'” Hunt said. “But the win is the important part. I don’t care if I strike anyone out if we win — that’s the point of the game.”
The Red Storm scored their only run of the late game in the first inning on a sac fly that plated Danielle Estrada from third. St. John’s would threaten again in the fourth, putting runners on second and third, but Hunt forced a pop-up to end the inning.
The Bulldogs tied the game at one in the bottom of the second inning. Catcher Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05 led off with a double, took third on a fielder’s choice and came home when designated hitter Jessica Meyer ’07 singled into center field.
Kwiatkowski had a typically strong day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a run and a walk. She went 1-for-3 in the early game.
Although the Elis came away with the win, they were outhit 7-6 and committed two errors.
“You feel good that you win, right after it happens, but when you think about what went wrong, numbers come up,” second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 said. “We made errors and we didn’t hit the ball. You still love to win, who doesn’t? But you look at it as we stole that one from them, and there’s very few times we’ll be able to do that.”
In the early game, the Bulldogs failed to take advantage of a standout pitching performance from Linnenbank. The junior southpaw allowed only five hits in six innings on the rubber, striking out three and walking one.
The St. John’s hitters struggled to solve Linnenbank, who allowed only one hit through five innings. But with two outs and none on in the top of the sixth, Red Storm second baseman Tami Hill got things going with a single into center. Center fielder Jo Sherlock followed with a single, and she and Hill were able to take an extra base on the throw.
First baseman Allina Sainz dealt the Bulldogs the death blow with her two-RBI single to left.
Linnenbank would give up only one more hit, but Geer held the Elis to an anemic three hits.
“It’s incredibly disappointing — all of our pitchers run rings around our necks,” Guerland said. “That’s how we stay in close games, and we’re not giving them the backup they need. With the errors in the field and not hitting, we’re giving the pitchers no room to work next inning.”
The Bulldogs have an extremely busy schedule this weekend, with doubleheaders on Friday, Saturday and Sunday against Central Connecticut, Fairfield and Marist, respectively. Despite the problems the team experienced yesterday, team members said that the overall strategy remains the same.
“We’re certainly looking forward to keeping the goals we set at the beginning of the season: scoring every inning, keeping defense together and stringing together some hits,” Torres said. “Hopefully we’ll manage that this weekend.”