The Yale softball team will take on Quakers and Lions this weekend in two home doubleheaders against Penn and Columbia.
The contest for Columbia was originally scheduled for today but was pushed back to Sunday due to weather concerns. The games against Penn are slated for Saturday.
The postponement of the Columbia game adds to an already extensive list of weather-related scheduling issues for the Bulldogs this spring. Yale has only played 13 games this season, and they have had exactly the same number of games either canceled or postponed.
“The games [against Columbia and Penn] are very important, especially since we have had quite a few cancellations due to weather this season,” right fielder Camille Weisenbach ’17 said. “We are still trying to forge our identity and grow as a unit.”
Although the Elis (4–9, 1–1 Ivy) are coming off of a Wednesday 16–6 loss in five innings to UMass Amherst, they split a pair of games earlier this week against Cornell on Monday in their first Ivy League action of the season.
Perhaps the most troubling statistic thus far for the Bulldogs is their slugging percentage, which is just 0.275, sharply down from last year’s 0.316 figure. But players are confident that the pair of doubleheaders will be good for the team.
“Hosting four Ivy games this weekend is exciting, and we’ve been waiting for this opportunity all season,” outfielder Syndey Glover ’17 said. “It will be nice to finally play a full set of weekend games, especially on our home turf.”
Weisenbach enters Saturday’s showdown on a four-game hitting streak as the primary slugger for the Elis. With a 3–3 performance at the plate, along with two runs batted in, against UMass on Wednesday, she improved her batting average to a team-high 0.444. Additionally, she leads the Bulldogs in hits, RBI and the slash-line statistics: slugging percentage, on-base percentage and the aforementioned batting average.
But Weisenbach is not the only driver of the Elis’ success — there is also an array of younger players who have contributed to the team. At the top of the lineup, Glover has accumulated a 0.325 batting average and has scored 10 runs in her sophomore campaign, while third baseman Allison Skinner ’18 is hitting a solid 0.321 with five RBI. Righty pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18 has three of Yale’s four wins this season, posting victories on the mound against Florida A&M, Central Connecticut State and Cornell. She has a 3–2 record and has racked up 41 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched with a 1.29 earned run average.
“I always try to keep hitters off balance by going inside and outside and changing up my pitches,” Casalino said. “I definitely want to avoid as much solid contact as possible by using my changeup. I am just staying loose and trying not to think too much.”
Casalino and the other Yale pitchers will have their hands full on Saturday against Penn. Casalino described Penn as one of the best teams in the Ivy League, as the Quakers are already 3–1 in the conference. They boast two starters with batting averages above 0.400: Junior Lauren Li leads the offense with a 0.436 batting average and 26 hits, while infielder Jurie Joyner is hitting 0.462 with a 0.673 slugging percentage.
In the matchup on Sunday with Columbia, the Bulldogs are concentrating on playing hard and maintaining a high energy level, according to captain Sarah Onorato ’15, who is also a sports columnist for the News. Yale matches up well with the Lions, who are 1–3 in the Ivy League and have a 4–16 overall record. The Lions are led by sophomore slugger Kerry Cook and pitcher Tonia Wu.
“I think we have the ability to compete against any team in this league if we come out with good energy, score early and minimize defensive mistakes,” Onorato said.
The doubleheaders with Penn and Columbia on Saturday and Sunday are both scheduled to kick off at 12:30 p.m.