The Yale softball team went 2–2 this past weekend, earning an expected net result despite upsetting Columbia and suffering two disappointing defeats to Penn.
After losing 4–1 and then 8–6 in Friday’s doubleheader against the Quakers (14–12, 5–3 Ivy), the Bulldogs (9–21, 4–4) dominated the Lions (12–18, 5–3) 7–2 and 12–2 at home on Saturday. Due to their solid performance over the weekend, the Elis moved to second place in the North Division standings and fifth overall in a tight Ivy League conference race.
“We played two great teams that pushed us to play our best and it especially showed on Saturday with our sweep,” catcher Cristina Teems ’19 said. “Our bats were hot all weekend.”
The Bulldogs had a respectable 18 hits over the two games against Penn, but it was not nearly enough to overome the Quakers’ offensive power. In the first game, Yale kept it close until Penn third-baseman Molly Oretsky blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Quakers a commanding lead. The Bulldogs’ main weakness in this first game was a lack of contribution from the majority of the lineup. Only three batters — third baseman Allison Skinner ’18, left fielder Shelby Kennedy ’19 and right fielder Rachel Paris ’17 — had hits in the game, with two each.
In the first and second games, the Bulldogs struggled to hit the ball to open spots in the field. Yale did a fine job of seeing the ball from Penn’s pitchers, but could not manage to pick out the holes in the Quaker defense.
“We hit multiple balls solidly but were just hit right at their players,” pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18 said. “If any of those hits were a few inches to the right or left, then that would have been the difference in the games.”
The Bulldogs responded emphatically against a Columbia squad that started conference play with a perfect 4–0 record. Casalino stepped up for the pair of games, totaling five hits over the two contests while also pitching a complete game and allowing just two earned runs. Casalino earned her third win of the season and struck out nine batters.
According to Casalino, getting more timely hits and finding holes in the defense were the main factors in the improvement between Friday and Saturday.
Another huge difference on offense came from first baseman Camille Weisenbach ’17. The Bothell, Washington native had zero hits in the games against Penn, but singled in both of the games against Columbia. She tallied just two hits over the weekend, both against Columbia, which stands in contrast to the remarkable 20 total hits in her first 22 games. Weisenbach is second in the lineup and fourth overall in batting average, and she will need to fuel more of the Eli offense as Ivy play picks up. The first baseman also has the highest slugging percentage on the team, and the Bulldogs rely on her for big hits and RBIs, of which she had two in the second game against Columbia.
On the defensive end, Yale gave up just five hits in the first game, and despite the two runs given up in the fifth inning, the defense retired the final seven hitters. Pitcher Terra Jerpbak ’19 threw all five innings en route to her second victory of the season, surrendering only two runs in the second game of the doubleheader.
The Elis face an inconsistent Quinnipiac (14–17, 3–3 MAAC) next on their schedule. Sophomore third baseman and outfielder Rebecca Drake should pose a problem for the Bulldogs, as she is second in the MAAC in hits and doubles and third in slugging percentage.
“[Quinnipiac] always has a solid team no matter the year, and this year is no different,” Casalino said. “The games are also always very competitive just since our schools are so close in proximity so it truly can be seen as a battle of New Haven.”
The Bulldogs will look to keep improving against Quinnipiac at home on Wednesday.