The Yale softball team did twice over the weekend what no other Ivy League team has been able to do even once this season: beat Dartmouth.
Dartmouth (26–12, 14–2 Ivy) entered the four-game set between North Division rivals undefeated, but it did not emerge so. Yale (15–28–1, 7–9) split each of the two doubleheaders, despite persistent heckling and jeers from the Dartmouth dugout. Though the Bulldogs lost the first and last game of the weekend 4–1 and 6–1, respectively, they successfully tarnished the Big Green’s record with back-to-back wins in close contests that Yale won 4–2 and 1–0.
“We stuck it to them, and it felt great,” said pitcher Lindsay Efflandt ’17, who tossed a complete game shutout in Sunday’s victory. “It was one of the best wins that I personally have had as a pitcher because classless teams are the best teams to beat.”
In the first contest on Saturday, it became quickly apparent that the Bulldogs might be in store for a difficult road trip. Efflandt pitched a strong five innings, allowing only two earned runs, but it was not enough to overcome the efforts of Big Green pitcher Morgan McCalmon.
The Dartmouth ace silenced Yale’s bats, striking out six batters and allowing only one hit and one walk en route to her 15th win of the season.
Dartmouth’s talented offense capitalized on four Eli errors to push across an additional two unearned runs of insurance in a game that officially knocked Yale out of contention for the North Division title.
Yale would not allow the dominant Big Green machine to have the last word on Saturday, however, as it came into the nightcap with renewed verve. This time around, things clicked on all cylinders for Yale.
Pitcher Terra Jerpbak ’19, who tossed a scoreless relief inning in the first game, picked up where she had left off and spun five innings of two-run ball against the Ivy League’s highest-scoring lineup. The only two runs of the game she allowed came on a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to Dartmouth catcher Kassidy Williams, but Yale’s offense more than matched the pop of Dartmouth’s.
The Bulldogs hit three long balls off Breanna Ethridge, ending their drought as the only Ivy League team not to go yard in the 2016 season. Two of those moonshots belonged to third baseman Allison Skinner ’18, who has been a consistent producer for the team all season. Skinner leads the Elis with 19 RBI this season, and she has slugged a team-high 0.500 in conference action.
“I decided to just go up there and take some hacks because there was nothing to lose,” Skinner said of her mentality at the plate. “[Ethridge] threw me an inside pitch and I just turned on it as hard as I could.”
The third Yale home run belonged to right fielder Rachel Paris ’17, who joined the game in the field in the bottom of the sixth and stepped up to the plate for the first time in the seventh. At that point, McCalmon was pitching instead of Ethridge. McCalmon’s impressive velocity give Paris all the power she needed to drive a ball over the center field fence and solidify Yale’s lead.
In addition to the three solo shots, center fielder Sydney Glover ’17 doubled in first baseman Lauren Delgadillo ’16 in the second inning.
The Bulldogs drew on Saturday evening’s success in their first game on Sunday. Efflandt was once again in the pitcher’s circle, where she faced off in a pitcher’s duel with McCalmon for the second time in as many days. This time, however, Efflandt did not let her opponent walk away with the win. Efflandt hurled a walkless three-hitter and did not allow a single run. McCalmon nearly matched Efflandt frame-for-frame, but McCalmon was charged with the loss thanks to an unearned run scored by Glover on an error by Dartmouth second baseman Morgan Martinelli.
“It was awesome to watch Lindsay absolutely shut down the Dartmouth offense in the first game today,” Paris said. “Getting our first win against Dartmouth was an awesome feeling and coming away with a split is just the cherry on top.”
In the final game of the series, the Elis suffered their second loss of the weekend. Jerpbak pitched one inning and gave up four runs, all in the second inning, against a reinvigorated Dartmouth lineup. Williams continued her strong showing at the plate, recording her third and fourth RBI of the weekend. Her teammates, left fielder Chloe Madill and designated hitter Karen Chaw, each plated additional runs in the frame.
Francesca Casalino ’18 relieved Jerpbak for 2.1 innings, but Madill again left her mark on the game, blasting a two-run shot in the fourth to put Dartmouth up 6–0. Casalino handed the ball over to Efflandt two batters after the home run, and the junior closed out the game with 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, one walk and one hit batter.
After Ethridge shut out Yale for five innings, righty Lauren Stone gave up one run in relief, allowing Yale to get onto the scoreboard in the seventh inning. Jerpbak scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of second baseman Laina Do ’17 in the seventh inning.
Yale will next take on Maine in a doubleheader at the Dewitt Family Field in West Haven on Wednesday, the final two nonconference games of the season for the Bulldogs.