The Yale softball team remains mired in last place in the Ivy League’s North Division following a disappointing weekend against Harvard at home.
The Bulldogs (12–26, 5–7 Ivy) entered play on Saturday with high hopes for their four showdowns with the Crimson (20–14, 9–3), but instead were met with three frustrating losses. The first two games of the series continued the trend of tight in-conference losses for Yale as it fell 2–0 in an eight-inning affair before dropping a tight 5–4 second game. The team did win Sunday’s by a 1–0 margin, but the redemption did not last long as Yale took its worst beating of the Ivy season in a 6–0 loss to cap the weekend.
“We expect to continue to compete and win, especially against our Ivy opponents,” captain and right fielder Allie Souza ’16 said. “We respect the competition in our league this year but also realize that we are good enough to beat any of these teams if we do the little things right.”
In a faceoff with Harvard pitcher Morgan Groom, righty Lindsay Efflandt ’17 put together a gem on the mound. She and Groom matched zeroes for the first seven frames of the game, forcing extra innings in which the Crimson lineup up finally posted two runs on the board. To do so, Harvard smacked a pair of doubles as part of a three-hit, game-deciding inning.
Though Efflandt took the loss, it marked a continuation of her strong conference season. Efflandt allowed no runs on only four hits up until the eighth inning. So far this year, she has a 1.56 ERA in 49.1 Ivy innings.
“I’ve always loved competing against Harvard because the way they hit is just very good for me,” Efflandt said. “It’s easy to get them off balance and you can [do that] with the off-speed pitches and throwing outside so they have a tough time.”
Saturday’s second game also came down to the wire, though not because of a pitching duel. Despite pushing a run across in each of the first four innings, Yale was unable to hold onto its leads of 3–0 and 4–2. Pitcher Terra Jerpbak ’19 was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs over 4.1 innings, including a pair of home runs in the fifth that gave Harvard a lead it would not surrender.
At the plate, the Elis saw strong performances from a couple of their up-the-middle position players. Catcher Camille Weisenbach ’17 was the only Bulldog to record more than one hit in the first matchup. Second baseman Laina Do ’17 went 2–3 with an RBI and a run scored in the second game of the afternoon. However, the team was unable to score the runners in scoring position, most notably in a bases-loaded walkoff opportunity in the bottom of the seventh inning of the opener.
Sunday’s split doubleheader showed off two ends of the spectrum for Yale. Among the positives were another two stellar pitcher performances from Efflandt who threw a total of 21.2 innings this weekend, while allowing a remarkable two runs. Among the negatives were lackluster batting performances and an especially short outing for pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18.
Yale battled through the first game of the day and eventually established a one-run lead that was just enough for the win behind the arm of Efflandt. The run-scoring hit was a double off of the bat of third baseman Allison Skinner ’17. Skinner fouled off several balls making for a long at-bat before scoring Sydney Ginsberg ’18.
The moment marked a point of pride for head coach Jen Goodwin.
“With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, to see Sydney Ginsberg get on base, I just knew Skinner would come through,” Goodwin said. “Moments like that make me so proud to be the coach of this team.”
Skinner and Ginsberg’s two hits marked the only two off of Morgan Groom, who pitched her second complete game of the weekend. The Crimson lost to the Bulldogs despite outhitting them 6–2 in Sunday’s first game, as Efflandt stranded five runners during her shutout victory.
Fortune did not continue to favor Yale later in the afternoon, however. The opening third of an inning was a long one for the Elis. Casalino gave up six runs, which sullied her in-conference ERA, inflating it to a still-respectable 3.73.
Casalino left the game after facing seven batters and recording only one out, her shortest outing of her 19 appearances this season. She handed the ball off to Efflandt who was lights-out for the rest of the game, holding the Crimson scoreless for the remainder of the game to complete a scoreless 13.2 innings of work on the day. However, those six runs were more than enough for Harvard to defeat a Yale team lacking offensive punch.
Harvard pitcher Kathleen Duncan managed to no-hit the Bulldogs through five innings before Yale introduced pinch-hitter Cristina Teems ’19. With only three previous at-bats this season and none in Ivy play, Teems knocked a single to short to break up the no-hitter and record her first consecutive hit — the hit would also be Yale’s sole one of the loss.
“I had the opportunity to try to get a hit and I was able to get the job done,” Teems said. “I didn’t realize at the time that it was the only hit of the game and I think that finding out after the game that I’d busted a Harvard pitcher’s no-hitter felt better than knowing that I got my first hit.”
After this weekend, Yale is tied for last with Brown in the North Division. The Bulldogs next head to Fairfield to play Sacred Heart before taking on defending Ivy League Champion Dartmouth, which remains undefeated in Ancient Eight play, in Hanover.
The first game of the doubleheader against Sacred Heart will begin at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.