Playing the same team twice does not always mean putting up the same results.
On Thursday afternoon, the softball team (21-11) split a doubleheader with Fairfield (21-13), dominating in the first game and struggling in the second. After splitting these two games, the Elis move into Ivy League competition this weekend, first facing Princeton in a doubleheader on Saturday, and then Penn in a doubleheader on Sunday.
In the first game, Peggy Hunt ’06 pitched a five-hit shut-out as Yale beat Fairfield, 3-0, though the Stags played a solid offensive game and had runners on base in five of the seven innings. Hunt played an outstanding game, striking out two hitters and issuing no walks. Though the Stags had a shot at scoring when Julia Jacoby led off with a double, Hunt shut down their offense, ousting the following three hitters. She has allowed only one earned run in her last 18 innings.
The second game was more difficult for the Elis, especially offensively. Even in the first game, though, the Bulldogs left 10 runners on base.
“We couldn’t string our hits together,” right fielder Kyli Hanson ’09 said. “We didn’t even have that many hits in general, and we weren’t hitting in key situations. We didn’t even get that many people on base. It wasn’t an overdominating pitcher.”
Led by Kate Roberts and Cagney Ringalda, who combined on a three-hitter to beat the Elis, Fairfield took the second game, 2-0.
Though the doubleheader was low-scoring, the games were not without standout offensive performances from the Elis. Left fielder Courtney Blachford ’08 reached base in each of her plate appearances, and scored twice for the Elis. Blachford also provided offensive a spark in Yale’s first game with a one-out single in the third inning, ultimately scoring on shortstop Aracelis Torres’ ’08 double to left field. Blachford also was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth inning, in which the Bulldogs added two more runs. First baseman Megan Enyeart ’09 and second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 also had hits for Yale.
In the second game, Yale struggled offensively, and had only three hits: a double by catcher Katie Edwards ’09 and singles by Blachford and center fielder Kate Meserve ’07.
Pitchers Rebecca Wojciak ’09 and Deanna DiBernardi ’09 led the Bulldogs’ defensive effort in the second game. Wojciak pitched well, going four innings and allowing only one earned run, while DiBernardi pitched the last two innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run.
In contrast, Fairfield got into an offensive rhythm that had eluded it in the first game. The Stags scored once in the second on Jenna DiBernardo’s two-out RBI single and once more in the sixth on Riannon Thomas’ RBI double.
Looking forward, Yale opens Ancient Eight play this weekend with games against Princeton and Penn.
The Elis say they are excited to move into league competition.
“We’re stoked,” Hanson said. “And I couldn’t say we don’t really play to [our] full potential not in league, but the fact that it is the Ivy League starting makes it that much more important. We know what we’re fighting for.”
The Bulldogs also bring a particularly competitive attitude to league competition.
“Honestly, we’re looking for our defense to not give up any runs,” Hanson said. “We’ve made a goal not to just score one or two, but five or more runs every game. We want every hit, every time we can.”