After a sweep of Hartford on Wednesday, the Yale softball team returned back home for arguably its most disappointing series this season, which ended with four straight losses to Dartmouth.
The Elis (7–16, 2–8 Ivy) lost every game in the pair of doubleheaders against the Big Green (18–13, 11–1), only managing to score three runs across the series and getting shut out in both contests on Sunday. The Bulldogs are now in their longest losing streak of the season.
“We lost all four games, which was tough,” shortstop Maddie Wuelfing ’18 said. “Dartmouth came out swinging bats, so each game was a battle for our pitchers and defense. But when it comes down to it, they outhit us.”
The first game of the weekend was not an auspicious start for Yale. Dartmouth wasted no time getting on the board, establishing a 6–0 lead by the end of the second inning. The Big Green scored off three home runs, including one off of the first batter.
The top of the fourth inning also proved unlucky for the Elis. In the course of its at-bat, Dartmouth stole two bases, scored once on a wild pitch and once on a throwing error and added six runs to its total to make the game 12–0.
The Bulldogs answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, scored off of a single to center field by first baseman Hannah Brennan ’15. However, it would take more than that run and another in the next inning to rival the Big Green’s mounting lead, which continued to grow in the top of the fifth.
After a 16–2 loss the first time around, Yale took the field again later that day. Pitcher Lindsay Efflandt ’17 gave the Elis some hope after being crushed in the first game. The sophomore from Cary, Ill. retired the first seven Dartmouth batters she faced, and the Big Green did not get on base until the fifth inning.
What the Bulldogs needed, however, was more hitting power. Yale did not get a hit of its own until the bottom of the fourth inning. Center fielder Sydney Glover ’17 scored off of a single from Brennan to mark the only run and the only two hits of the game. This was Brennan’s 10th consecutive game with a hit.
“Dartmouth is a great hitting team,” Brennan said. “They have great discipline at the plate. We needed to have similar discipline to be successful against their pitching staff, and we just didn’t execute.”
The Elis held the single-run lead until the sixth, when Dartmouth once again had a powerful at-bat, sending five runners across the plate and creating a four-point deficit that the Bulldogs could not surmount.
If scoring was difficult for Yale on Saturday, on Sunday, it seemed impossible. Mirroring the previous day’s start, Dartmouth pulled ahead with an early lead in the first contest after a series of runs in the top of the second. The Bulldogs had three hits throughout the game and left two runners in scoring position.
Three unanswered runs by the Big Green in the top of the fifth led to a score of 8–0 at the end of the inning, invoking the slaughter rule and the game was called.
“They were really the best team we’ve faced this year,” pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18, who held the top earned run average in the Ivy League prior to this weekend, said. “They were hitting balls that were in the dirt, they were hitting balls a foot off the plate. They hit pitches that weren’t strikes extremely well. You try to keep them off balance and when they hit the pitcher’s pitches, the ones that aren’t mistake pitches, it’s frustrating.”
Dartmouth completed the sweep with a win in the fourth game of the weekend after earning consistent runs throughout the contest. The Big Green shut out Yale for the second game in the doubleheader as well, finishing the game ahead 7–0.
With the four victories, first-place Dartmouth maintained its nearly perfect conference record and extended its winning streak to 10 games. Meanwhile the Elis sit at the opposite end of the North Division.
“It’s tough to start off the North team competition against the best team in the Ivy League,” Casalino said. “We don’t want this to happen again. We are better than we showed this weekend … this is just the middle of our season and we’re going to turn this around. We’re looking forward not back, and we’re excited to get back out there.”
The Bulldogs will play a doubleheader against Sacred Heart at home on Wednesday.