Two extra-inning games made it a long day for Yale softball.
The Bulldogs (14-21-1, 2-10 Ivy) faced the Providence Friars (18-18-2) in yesterday’s doubleheader, winning the first game, 3-2, in eight innings and tying the second, 6-6, in nine after the game was suspended because of darkness.
With clutch hits from the Yale lineup and solid defense and pitching from the field, the Bulldogs showed a marked improvement over their weekend performance.
“Our games went really well — we played a very strategic game to make sure we could get people in scoring position,” pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 said. “We took advantage of those opportunities and advanced our runners well.”
Solid defense behind the Eli pitching also added to the day’s success, she said.
“Defense really saved me on a lot of a plays,” Kuretich said. “Infield had great solid plays, and what could have been doubles ended up being great saves from the outfield.”
The first game went back and forth. Second baseman Katie Yanagisawa ’11 scored in the second inning to give Yale the early lead, but Providence matched it with a run in the next inning. The Bulldogs jumped ahead again with a second run in the fourth inning, but Providence came back again, tying the score and pushing the game into extra innings.
After Yale pitching and defense prevented the Friars from scoring in the top of the eighth, the Bulldogs put together solid and smart offense in the bottom of the inning for the win. Captain and shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 started the inning with a big double and advanced to third off a sacrifice bunt from catcher Katie Edwards ’09. Holly Gutterud ’10 singled to right field, allowing Torres to score Yale’s winning run.
“The best thing that happened today was that everything was working and working together,” Torres said. “We were getting clutch hits, our pitching was keeping their offense down and our defense was backing up the pitching.”
The second game started decisively, as Yale built a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10 singled, stole second and scored Yale’s first run off a single from McKynlee Westman ’11. With Mariclaire Rebman ’11 also on base, Yanagasiawa hit a triple that plated two more runners and gave Yale a substantial lead.
But the Friars quickly responded in the third inning with two runs, and then three more in the fifth, which gave them a 5-3 lead over the Bulldogs.
A Bulldog rally that followed in the sixth allowed Yale to retake the lead.
The comeback started with a Yanagisawa walk and a double from third baseman Allie Canulli ’10. Then outfielder Courtney Blachford ’08 fired up the team with a clutch triple that batted in two runs to tie the score. Following the big hit, Blachford took advantage of a wild pitch to steal home and score the leading run.
In one more comeback, Providence tied the score in the top of the seventh, and the Bulldogs sought to win the game in the bottom of inning but were thwarted by a setting sun. The Elis were able to get the bases loaded off pitching miscues from the Friars, but they were unable to bring any players home to break the tie and the game was called because of darkness, the scored still tied at six.
“In the bottom of seventh, we had a great chance to score and we thought it would be over,” Tracy Timm ’10 said. “If we had another inning, we would have been able to get the win — it felt like it was just matter of time.”
Torres added, “There was some disappointment in terms of not being able to get the outright win, but it’s also a testament to the fact that we were able to hold them down and not let them score.”
The Bulldogs will return to Ivy League action this weekend as they travel to New Hampshire to play Dartmouth. Last year, the Bulldogs were swept in a doubleheader against the Big Green. Several of the players said they are eager for a rematch.
“We have a history with Dartmouth from last year, so everyone’s itching to go there,” Timm said. “The odds are against us to get back in the running for Ivy League champs, but we can still put up a fight, and we still have the chance to put them out of the race.”