After sweeping a doubleheader against Hartford on Wednesday by scores of 6–4 and 5–1, the Yale softball team hopes to maintain this momentum in this week’s four-game home series against Dartmouth this Saturday and Sunday.
Currently riding a six-game winning streak, Dartmouth (14–13, 7–1 Ivy) claimed victory in all three of its doubleheaders against Columbia, Princeton and Cornell over the past two weekends. After eight Ivy games, the Big Green holds the best record in the conference and ranks first among the four schools in the North Division of the Ivy League. Meanwhile, Yale (7–12, 2–4) ranks last in the same division but can significantly improve its record with a successful performance at DeWitt Family Field.
“The two wins [on Wednesday] are a great start and momentum boost for us coming into this weekend,” pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18 said. “We have a lot of fight, and I know that we will show it this weekend.”
The upcoming pair of doubleheaders will be some of the toughest competition the team has ever seen this season, according to Casalino.
The biggest threat from the Big Green is junior Katie McEachern, who leads the conference with a batting average of 0.479. Throughout the six Ivy games she has played in, McEachern has totaled 15 hits, 14 runs and eight doubles, all enough for first in the league.
Dartmouth’s power will also be on display. McEachern’s overall slugging percentage is a robust 1.000, as 20 of her 34 hits this season have been good for extra bases. Her eight home runs top all Ancient Eight players, with sophomore teammates Karen Chaw and Maddie Damore, each of whom has tallied five home runs, right behind.
In comparison, Yale has only two players — outfielders Camille Weisenbach ’17 and Rachel Paris ’17 — who have hit even a single homer this season.
Furthermore, the Big Green boasts two star pitchers, senior Kristen Rumley and junior Morgan McCalmon, who will likely challenge the Bulldogs’ offense. Rumley, the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week for the past two weeks, ranks fifth in the league with an earned run average of 2.56, and McCalmon immediately follows with 2.90.
Yale, however, has a standout pitcher of its own. Currently ranked first in the Ivy League with a 1.91 ERA, Casalino has proven to be an invaluable asset in her inaugural collegiate season. Yale’s second-best pitcher in that category is Lindsay Efflandt ’17, who ranks 20th with an ERA of 7.49.
Offensively, Weisenbach leads Yale with a batting average of 0.400, enough for fifth in the league. Following Weisenbach in batting average is third baseman Hannah Brennan ’15, who ranks second on the team and 17th in the league with an average of 0.315.
To defeat the Big Green, captain and catcher Sarah Onorato ’15, who is also a sports columnist for the News, believes that a solid defense will be key this weekend. In a doubleheader against Columbia last weekend, the Bulldogs committed seven errors for a total of five unearned runs. In conference, Yale has committed 2.17 errors per game and holds a fielding percentage of 0.924, both worst in the Ancient Eight.
“Dartmouth has shown to be a strong hitting team, so it’s important that our defense holds strong,” Onorato said. “Our offense showed very well in our sweep of Hartford Wednesday [against] pitchers with very similar stuff to what we will be up against this weekend, so it was good to get some confidence and momentum with those wins.”
Infielder Hannah Brennan ’15 added that a combination of strong defense and aggressiveness at the plate will be key for the Elis.
After this weekend, the Bulldogs will have just four home games left in the season: one doubleheader against Sacred Heart on April 15 and another against Brown on April 24.