The Yale softball team snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday afternoon, getting back into the wins column with a decisive 8–0 victory over Quinnipiac with the game ending in the fifth inning because of the mercy rule. Francesca Casalino ’18 pitched a shutout and the Elis scored eight runs for the second straight game as the team won by its largest margin so far this season.
In a midweek break from conference action, the Bulldogs (8–22, 4–8 Ivy) travelled up Whitney Avenue to face the Bobcats (16–18, 5–1 MAAC), looking to gain positive momentum going into another weekend of Ivy League play after being swept by Penn. Quinnipiac entered the game on a five-game winning streak and coming off a 9–0 victory against Niagara, but Casalino and the Yale defense shut out the Bobcats for just the fifth time in Quinnipiac’s 34 games.
“Today was a perfect representation of what can happen when we play together,” first baseman Sydney Grobman ’21 said. “The energy was great, Fran [Casalino] did an incredible job on the mound, and everyone in the line up hit the ball hard. Although it wasn’t a conference game, it’s just what we needed going into this weekend versus Princeton.”
Casalino made her 13th appearance of the season, picking up her second win and second shutout of the year. She allowed just two hits — one in the first and one in the third inning — against a Quinnipiac team that had scored 30 runs in its last four games.
The Bulldogs, who also had just one hit in the first inning, found their groove in the second, opening the scoring after a hit from catcher Madison Sack ’19 singled to center field. Center fielder Giovy Webb ’20, who had advanced to third base thanks to a wild pitch, scored on the play.
Casalino and the defense helped preserve the lead in the bottom of the second, with the first three Bobcats at bat going three up, three down.
“It is just great to pitch when you know that the defense has your back and the offense puts up enough runs to hold a lead, even if the other team does score a few runs,” Casalino said. “It makes my job that much easier to go out there and not put too much pressure on myself, [which] just allowed me to have fun with it.”
This set the tone for an explosive third inning for the Elis, who scored four runs to extend their lead to 5–0. In addition to her performance on the mound, Casalino went 2–2 on the day and had one RBI, with Grobman scoring to put Yale up by two after she doubled to center field. Casalino now leads the team in RBI with 11.
For the remaining three scores of the inning, Yale took full advantage of Quinnipiac’s mistakes. With Casalino on third and right fielder Carlin Hagmaier ’19 on second, Webb singled and both scored as a Quinnipiac error doubled the Bobcat deficit to 4–0. Webb scored an unearned run of her own to close out the top of the third.
The Bobcats were unable to respond to Yale’s offensive boom in the third inning as Casalino gave up just one hit. Casalino struck out Rebecca Drake and Erin Larson, who has the best slugging percentage on the team. The senior had arguably her best outing of the season as she pitched a complete game for the second time all year.
“Fran was – as we have seen so many times before – dominant in the circle and at the plate, and the whole team was sharp” Sydney Ginsberg ’18 said.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, continued their success at bat in the fourth inning, scoring three runs to put the game out of Quinnipiac’s reach. Left fielder Shelby Kennedy ’19 opened the scoring and stole home to put the score at 6–0. Second baseman Annie Tarte ’20 increased the lead further after a sacrifice fly by Hagmaier, and Casalino scored the final run of the game after Sack singled to center field.
The Bobcats went three up, three down in the fifth inning to end the game.
“There was never a moment in which we lost energy or put too much pressure on each of ourselves to perform, [which] just allowed people to play confidently and not doubt their abilities,” Casalino said. “This win also was great for team morale. We played a team that is one of the leading teams in the MAAC and has been on fire at the plate.”
Yale is at home for the first time in a fortnight as the Bulldogs host Princeton in a three-game series this weekend. The first pitch of the opening game of Saturday’s double header is slated for 12:30 p.m.
Masha Galay | email@example.com