Although the Bulldog softball team did not have a flawless weekend, it showed considerable improvement from earlier in the season, demonstrated mental toughness and benefited from more valuable preparation for Ivy League competition.

The Elis (15-9) swept Farleigh Dickinson (2-19), winning the first game, 9-1, and the second, 9-8. On Sunday, they lost in a doubleheader against Marist (11-5), dropping the first game, 4-1, and the second, 3-2.

Yale easily won the first game against FDU, but struggled in the second. Offensively the Bulldogs played exceptionally well. In the first contest against FDU, Yale had a season-high 15 hits, and over both games, Yale had 29.

“Overall, it was a great. It ended up being a really high-scoring game,” right fielder Kyli Hanson ’09 said. “We definitely got the job done offensively; that kept us in the game, and it was great execution on our part.”

Yale also had four hitters with four hits on Saturday — Hanson, left fielder Courtney Blachford ’08, second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 and designated hitter Danielle Kozlowski ’09.

The Elis won the second game with considerably less ease. They trailed 6-2 in the second inning, but they showed mental strength and heart, and eventually came from behind to win.

“They were up pretty early, and then we came back towards the end,” catcher/outfielder Niki Haab ’07 said. “It was just one of those things — we had beaten them decidedly before, and so we knew we shouldn’t lose to them.”

Despite struggling early on, the Bulldogs were back in the game after Hanson and shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 scored in the fifth.

“Clutch hitting helped us come back in that game,” Hanson said. “We were down by too many runs, and we knew it was impossible to come back with just a few hits. A two-run homer put us back in the game.”

In spite of scoring twice in the sixth to tie the score, the Knights could not hold off the Bulldogs, who scored four times during that inning to take the lead. In the seventh inning, the Elis finally untied the score, which had been stuck at 8-8, to win, 9-8, and completed a sweep of FDU.

Other important offensive plays came from Guerland, who went three-for-four with an RBI and a run scored, and Kozlowski, who added two hits and two RBIs.

Defensively, the Bulldogs also performed well. Pitcher Peggy Hunt struck out an FDU hitter when there was a runner on third. Hunt pitched five and one-third innings to earn her fourth win of the season.

Sunday proved a more difficult set of contests for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs barely lost the first game. Marist hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to earn the Red Foxes a 4-1 victory over Yale.

Yale suffered a similar letdown in the second game. Trailing by two after three innings, the Bulldogs tied it in the fourth. The Elis’ best opportunity to win after that came in the ninth, when Kozlowski led off with a single. She got in postition to score by stealing second, but ended up stranded. The final blow came when Katie Eskin of Marist began the bottom of the ninth inning with a homer to give her team a 3-2 victory over Yale.

“Neither games were bad games at all. In the last inning in both games we were tied,” Hanson said. “Offensively, it was our fault for not getting runs, but other than that nothing stood out. Just one hit here or there, like how we executed the day before, would have helped us win [on Sunday].”

Marist also benefited from incredible pitching from Megan Rigos, who allowed only three hits and struck out five hitters. Torres was the only Yale hitter able to get a homer.

The Bulldogs next face Army at West Point this Wednesday.