Steve Musco

Despite having the second-best team ERA in the Ivy League, the Brown softball team entered this weekend with a conference-worst 1–8 Ivy record. Riding a seven-game losing streak, the Bears’ pitching finally powered the team to its first series win of the season after Brown took two of three against the Bulldogs in Providence.

In Saturday’s doubleheader, Brown (10–18, 3–9 Ivy) absolutely dominated the Elis on the mound holding Yale (13–22, 8–7) to just three runs over two games. Though their pitchers kept the Elis in contention for both games, the Yale bats went silent in a similar fashion to their doubleheader against Dartmouth a week ago. Still, Yale returned to life on Sunday to capture a 4–2 win victory and redeem its earlier 5–2 and 2–1 losses to Brown. Shortstop Kortney Ponce ’21 collected two hits on the day, including a seventh-inning, go-ahead RBI single that proved to be the winning run in a 4–2 Bulldog triumph.

“Saturday was not our best offensive showing,” pitcher Nic Conway ’22 said. “We were making absolutely amazing defensive plays but couldn’t get the hits when we needed them most. [Although] as a pitcher, it was reassuring to have my teammates making outstanding catches to keep us in the game!”

In the first game of the Saturday twinbill, Brown took control early by scoring two runs in the third inning and three runs in the fourth to jump out to a commanding 5–0 lead. The Elis did not score their first runs against Bears ace Lauren Innerst ’22, who ranks second in the Ancient Eight with an ERA of 2.52 until the sixth inning. A double by designated player Phylicia Wilkov ’21 scored pitcher and team captain Terra Jerpbak ’19 as well as pinch runner Olivia Sardoff ’22 made it 5–2, where the score would remain for the rest of the game.

The following game, Conway pitched one of her best games of her already outstanding rookie season. Although she gave up a home run to the first batter she faced, Conway was practically untouchable over the next seven innings, as she struck out four Bears and allowed only two earned runs.

Unfortunately for Yale, Brown’s two pitchers — Grace Ladd ’21 and Emily Waters ’20 — were just as dominant on the mound. After five superb innings of work from Ladd, it appeared that Seitz’s first-inning home run would hold up. However, the Elis finally broke through in the sixth with left fielder Shelby Kennedy ’19 stealing second before a bunt single from second baseman Annie Tarte ’20 and a sacrifice fly from Olivia Vinyard ’20 plated Kennedy to tie the game at 1–1.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when left fielder Ivy Hobson ’22 drew a leadoff walk and keenly moved to third after a sacrifice bunt from Seitz. A squeeze bunt from left fielder Karina Chavarria ’21 forced Yale first baseman Carlin Hagmaier ’20 to flip the ball home in a superb display of athleticism, but Hobson slid in just ahead of catcher Sydney Grobman’s ’21 tag. The run gave the Bears a 2–1 extra-inning victory and their third conference win of the season, completing their doubleheader sweep.

On Sunday, the series finale seemed to play out in a similar fashion to Saturday’s games: Yale’s pitching was dominant, yet the offense was quiet. For six innings, pitcher Miranda Papes ’21 limited the Bears to just two runs but Yale had scored only one, setting the stage for a dramatic final two innings. In the sixth, Tarte led off the inning with a triple before a single from Vinyard tied the game at 2–2.

After Papes tossed a perfect sixth, it set the stage for the Bulldogs to do what the team had done in each of its last four Ivy League Series — win the Sunday finale. With a leadoff triple from Hagmaier, Ponce followed with a single to left, bringing the score to 3–2. After a walk to right fielder Giovy Webb ’21 and a throwing error by the Innerst loaded the bases, Tarte knocked home the Elis’ second run of the inning with a fielder’s choice, making the score 4–2.

Papes then shut down Brown in order in the bottom of the seventh, earning her a complete game victory. This solidified the performance as her most impressive of the season.

The Bulldogs, who slipped to fifth place in the Ancient Eight standings, play Sacred Heart in a doubleheader on Wednesday before hosting a three-game series with league-leader Columbia on Easter weekend.

Jared Fel | jared.fel@yale.edu .