With a weekday sweep of Fairfield in a Wednesday doubleheader, the Yale softball established key momentum entering Ivy League play on Friday.
The Bulldogs (7–15, 0–0 Ivy) produced some of the best offense they have posted all season, and they needed exactly that performance at the plate to defeat the Stags (10–12, 0–0 MAAC) by narrow scores of 5–4 and 6–5. Pitcher Terra Jerpbak ’19 also played a large part in the day’s success, earning a win in the first game and a save in the second with just one earned run allowed across seven total innings.
After the two wins, Yale now holds a three-game winning streak for the first time in nearly two years.
“We played through some adversity today, and stayed strong mentally to pull out the wins,” head coach Jen Goodwin said. “They were two team wins, where everyone contributed. We had some big defensive plays, some clutch hits and our pitchers kept us in the game. You can’t ask for much more from your team.”
In the first of two games played in Fairfield, Connecticut, the Bulldogs built multi-run leads over the Stags on three separate occasions before their opponent nearly came back in each case. The last of those occasions was in the seventh inning, when two insurance runs driven in by Yale right fielder Rachel Paris ’17 turned out to be crucial for Yale’s win. Pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18, given a three-run lead in the bottom of the inning, hit some turbulence and just managed to end the game before Fairfield could complete its rally.
Jerpbak held the Stags to just two runs, only one earned, and four hits over five innings. The freshman hurler, who was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll last week, credited her mentality as a pitcher for her success.
“Today everything seemed to be working pretty well.” Jerpbak said. “All of my pitches were hitting their locations, which left the batters trying to guess where the pitch was going in terms of inside, outside, high or low.”
But Jerpbak’s heroics were not confined to the pitcher’s circle. Her own 3–4 record at the plate and two runs scored in the first game was the cherry on top.
In total, the Bulldogs outhit the Stags 10–6 in the contest, with three of those coming from Jerpbak and two from Paris.
“The fun part about this team is that we have a different hero every day, so at any moment any player can step up and be ‘the one,’” Goodwin said.
The nightcap was also a close game, with the Bulldogs ultimately coming out one run ahead. The two teams traded the lead twice over the course of the game, and Yale did not pull away for good until a three-run top of the sixth inning. The Elis once again outhit their opponents, this time by a narrower margin of 10–9.
Right fielder Carlin Hagmaier ’19 continued her stellar performance. She entered play on Wednesday as the newly crowned Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her 0.545 batting average, first career triple, a walk-off RBI and perfect defensive play in 26 opportunities.
Her hot streak certainly did help, as she went 3–4 at the plate in the second game with two runs scored and an RBI. Hagmaier was part of the sixth-inning Eli rally that allowed the team to reclaim the lead and win the game.
“At the plate I really just like to focus on hitting the ball solidly and to swing at good pitches,” Hagmaier said. “A hot streak can definitely affect my mentality, I just try to keep a similar mentality no matter what happens so my previous plays don’t affect the present.”
Catcher Camille Weisenbach ’17 continued an impressive performance on the day overall. After recording an RBI single in the first game, the junior backstop had two hits, two runs scored and another RBI in the second. Center fielder Shelby Kennedy ’19 was also an integral part of the doubleheader with a total of four hits on the day, including a two-RBI triple in the crucial sixth inning of the second contest.
Although starter Lindsay Efflandt ’17 was charged with five earned runs over five innings, she still earned the win thanks to Yale’s offensive performance. Jerpbak made a relief appearance to claim the save and close off a strong day.
The Bulldogs look to extend their win streak against Ivy League opponents at Columbia on Friday.