A lot of zeroes filled the scoreboard above the new turf at DeWitt Field this weekend. Usually, such a result would go against the Yale softball team, which entered a three-game series against Cornell with the second-worst offense in the Ivy League. But this past weekend, the Bulldogs pitchers were the ones keeping batters off the bases.
The Elis (7–18, 4–5 Ivy) posted two shutouts against the Big Red (8–12, 3–3), winning Saturday’s two games 5–0 and 4–0, respectively. Terra Jerpbak ’19 and Francesca Casalino ’18 both pitched complete-game shutouts, with Jerpbak surrendering just four hits and Casalino giving up just three. Although Yale lost Sunday’s game 5–3, the team walked away with its first series win of the Ivy season.
“This was a big series for us, although losing the last game was tough,” Casalino said. “We were able to prove to ourselves that we have the ability to beat any team in the Ivy League if all of our components come together and work in unison. When our pitchers are on, our defense is strong and we get those timely hits to score runs, we can be unstoppable.”
Cornell opened Ivy League play by taking two of three games off of Harvard, but could not bring the winning momentum to New Haven on Saturday. The matinee opened with three scoreless innings. At the bottom of the fourth, Yale captain and third baseman Allison Skinner ’18 doubled to left center. Next at the plate, first baseman Sydney Grobman ’21 hit a triple to score Skinner and give her team the lead.
The Bulldogs never looked back, tacking on two runs in the fifth and two more insurance runs in the sixth. Shortstop Kortney Ponce ’21 and center fielder Giovy Webb ’20 crossed the plate in the fifth with Ponce getting on base off of an error and Webb reaching on the single that scored Ponce.
In the sixth inning, catcher Madison Sack ’19 hit a one-out, two-run homer to complete the victory. However, the most impressive performance of the day came at the pitcher’s circle, where Jerpbak went the distance in her first shutout of the season.
Defense made the difference again in the second game of the series, in which Casalino fanned three batters while allowing just four on base in her first shutout of year.
“Cornell is a great hitting team so for my pitching, I knew that I needed to keep their offense limited to be able to give our team the best chance to win Game Two,” Casalino said.
Yale’s offense struck early in the second game, taking a 3–0 lead into the third inning. Webb and right fielder Carlin Hagmaier ’19 scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball, respectively. Hagmaier doubled to right center to score Casalino. Sack again batted in the insurance run, this time doubling down the left field line to score pinch-runner Sydney Ginsberg ’18.
But Yale’s luck ran out in Sunday’s nine-inning contest as the Big Red jumped out to a 5–1 lead. The Bulldogs gave themselves a chance to rally in the final inning. Shelby Kennedy ’19 singled to score Hagmaier and then crossed the plate herself on a Skinner double. However, a groundout to the pitcher cut the Bulldog rally short and Cornell walked away with the 5–3 win.
The Elis will take on a midweek clash against Fairfield on Wednesday before traveling to Penn for a weekend Ivy series.
Bill Gallagher | firstname.lastname@example.org