If the softball team came into this weekend hoping to stop their trend of splitting doubleheaders, new goals may be in order.
The Elis (12-22, 2-6 Ivy) dropped all four of their Ivy League contests this weekend and are now tied with Brown for last in the league.
On Saturday, Columbia (17-23, 4-4) destroyed the Bulldogs in the early game, 8-0, before winning the second game in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Kacy Krisman walk-off home run, 3-2. Upstate New York proved no friendlier than the city. On Sunday, pitcher Ashley Linnenbank ’06 allowed her second walk-off home run of the weekend, allowing Cornell (19-16, 5-3) to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh and win, 1-0. The Bulldogs lost game two, 5-0.
“It hits us pretty hard,” catcher Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05 said. “We definitely didn’t go in there expecting to be swept both days. The way we’ve been losing is tough too. It’s going to be hard to dig ourselves out of this rut we’ve dug ourselves into and finish on high note.”
The scoreboard reveals the Elis’ biggest problem this weekend — no offense. The Bulldogs only notched 16 hits this weekend, an average of four per contest, en route to scoring two runs — both of which came in one game.
The Elis said their biggest offensive problems this weekend were mental ones, specifically impatience at the plate.
“Pitch selection is very mental,” captain Chelsea Kanyer ’06 said. “No matter how much you practice, in games you have to have patience with bad pitches and swing at good ones. We just have to keep swinging hard and hopefully pull ourselves out of this little funk we’ve gotten into.”
Despite allowing the game-ending long balls, Linnenbank continued to be the only consistent performer wearing navy and white this weekend. The junior lefty pitched 15.3 innings between two starts and a relief appearance, allowing 14 hits and three earned runs, bringing her team-leading ERA down to 1.75.
Despite several incredibly strong performances this spring, Linnenbank has received virtually no run support. With this weekend’s losses, her record falls to 4-9, a mark entirely incongruous with her miniscule ERA.
“We couldn’t get any of our pitchers any runs this weekend,” Kanyer. “It’s pretty hard to win games if you don’t get any runs.”
The late game against Columbia saw the Elis rally twice to tie. Kwiatkowski scored both runs for the Bulldogs — first on a two-out single from third baseman Meredith Parks ’07 to tie the game at one in the fourth inning, and then on a two-out single from Kanyer to knot the score at two in the sixth.
The game went into extra innings, but not for long. After center fielder Libby Peters ’05, Kwiatkowski and second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 went three up, three down in the top of the eighth, Krisman — who leads the Lions in home runs and RBIs — led off the bottom of the eighth with the game-ending blast to left.
While the game was the only one of the weekend in which the Elis put a number other than zero in the runs column, they did make costly mental mistakes. In the third inning, with two outs and a runner on third, Linnenbank hit Krisman with a pitch. Krisman took a lead off first and Kwiatkowski attempted to pick her off, but because of miscommunication between the Eli infielders, no one was manning first base.
Kwiatkowski’s throw went into right field, allowing the runner from third to score.
“Everyone’s not really on same page mentally,” Kanyer said. “We’re kind of in a mental rut.”
Although the Elis failed to produce any runs, the early contest against Cornell was the biggest game for the Eli batsmen, who notched seven hits against the Big Red’s top pitcher, Jenn Meunier. But the Bulldogs never strung the hits together in any given inning, with Meunier and solid Cornell defense stopping every Eli threat.
But Big Red senior Erin Kizer would break the offensive drought with the seventh-inning bomb off Linnenbank — only the fourth hit the lefty allowed in six and one-third innings of work.
Linnenbank’s fellow junior hurler, Peggy Hunt ’06, did not fare as well this weekend. Between two starts, Hunt allowed 17 hits, 11 earned runs and two home runs in 8.1 innings pitched as her ERA jumped from 2.10 to 2.94. Her record fell to 7-8.
Hunt pitched the entire first game against Columbia — five innings, before the mercy rule came into effect. She only pitched the first 3.1 innings in game two against Cornell yesterday before Linnenbank came on in relief.
“It was a rough weekend — for everyone, I think,” Hunt said. “There were some highlights, but things just didn’t go our way.”