Yale softball plated 15 runs in the second leg of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader this past weekend, scoring the most in a single game since dominating Siena with 22 on March 15, 2008.
What made the Elis’ (11–16, 6–3 Ivy) 15–5 win over Cornell (3–19, 2–4) so much more impressive was that just a few hours before, they had scored a dozen runs in their first game of the day. Wrapping up the series a day later, the Elis scored double figures again, tallying 10 runs to sweep the Big Red. Captain and pitcher Terra Jerpbak ’19 threw 12 innings across the Elis’ 12–5 win Saturday and 10–1 performance on Sunday, while catcher Sydney Grobman ’21 went six-for-11 on the weekend, collecting five RBIs, two doubles and a homer to right field in Sunday’s series-sweeping win.
“We played really loose this weekend, but didn’t let up,” Grobman said. “No matter how many runs we scored, we knew we had to keep pushing until the job was done. We hit well all the way through our lineup, and this helped us to score consistently throughout each game. Terra and Nic [Conway ’22] were also lights out this weekend. The excited and supportive vibe really secured the wins this weekend, and I couldn’t be more proud of us.”
After Yale’s offensive explosion this weekend, the Elis moved to second place in the Ivy League. Cornell, projected to finish a spot above the Elis at sixth in the Ivy League’s 2019 preseason poll, dropped 12 of its 13 non-conference contests before picking up a series win against Brown last weekend. The Big Red fall to sixth place following this weekend’s pitching struggles. Although the Elis have one more win than Columbia, the Bulldogs currently trail the Lions by one game for the Ancient Eight’s top spot.
Despite having to make the five hour, 250-mile voyage to Ithaca on Friday night, the Elis rocketed to a hot start on the road early Saturday afternoon. Inflating Big Red pitcher Ashley Delany’s earned run average to 6.79 by the end of the day, Yale scored three in the top of the first inning and followed up its early lead with nine more unanswered runs. Jerpbak ignited the scoring with a fielder’s choice to second base that sent center fielder Olivia Vinyard ’20 home. Vinyard, who homered in the third, finished the game with three RBIs alongside classmate and second baseman Annie Tarte ’20.
“Our offense really came alive this weekend,” Vinyard said. “Our hitters were patient in the box and attacked when they saw pitches they liked. We were able to consistently string together some great hits and held our own on defense.”
On the mound, meanwhile, Jerpbak — who finished second in the Ancient Eight with 84 strikeouts last season — pitched six scoreless innings, only encountering trouble in the fifth once the Bulldogs had already amassed a 12–0 lead. With the 12–5 victory, the senior lefty picked up her sixth win of the 2019 campaign and the 22nd of her career in blue and white.
The second portion of Saturday’s doubleheader featured much of the same. First year pitcher Nic Conway ’22 fanned seven in five innings of work, while her Big Red counterpart, junior pitcher Katie Lew, allowed 20 hits, 14 earned runs and three long balls in her ninth loss of the season. Yale sent 10 batters to the plate in a seven-hit, seven-run second inning, collecting three off RBI singles from third baseman Katie Tews ’22 and Vinyard and an RBI triple from left fielder Shelby Kennedy ’19. First baseman Carlin Hagmaier ’19 then broke open the game with a grand slam that sailed over the right field wall.
“This was a really great weekend for our team, ability and confidence-wise,” Conway said. “We went into the weekend knowing we needed a sweep, and we really played as a team and did just that. It has been so amazing pitching for this team, everyone is constantly supporting one another and I know they have my back. It really helps me relax and just throw my game knowing I have such a great defense and offense behind me.”
In its third bout of the weekend at Niemand-Robison field, the Elis replicated the formula that had helped them secure two wins on Saturday. Jerpbak took to the mound again, striking out seven in an 87-pitch outing, and the Bulldog offense broke open the scoring in the top half of the first. Jerpbak doubled to score Kennedy, a Hagmaier single sent Grobman home and a RBI double to left center from shortstop Kortney Ponce ’21 increased the Eli lead to 4–0. Ponce finished the game three-for-three, hitting another double in the second and belting a fourth-inning home run over the left field fence to again expand Yale’s advantage to the game’s final score of 10–1. The five-inning contest was the second consecutive that the Bulldogs have won by the mercy rule.
Before scoring double digits three times in this weekend’s series, Yale had not accomplished the feat since a 10–2 home win over Dartmouth on April 22, 2017.
Jared Fel contributed reporting.
William McCormack | email@example.com