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Yale went 2–3 in five games at the Silicon Valley Classic this weekend, claiming victories against Santa Clara University and California Baptist University.

Unfortunately for the Elis, the team fell to San Jose State University, Colorado State, and Canisius College.

Team captain Annie Tarte ’20 and infielder Sydney Grobman ’21 each knocked in three runs as the Yale softball team (2–3 Ivy League) edged Santa Clara 9–7 on the opening night of the Silicon Valley Classic. In their first game of the day, the Bulldogs dropped a 2–1 heartbreaker
to Canisius.

Against Santa Clara, Yale scored twice in the first inning and three times in the second, with Tarte picking up 2 runs in 3 at-bats. Tarte’s runs helped her heat up on the field as well, as she was critical in several defensive plays that kept Santa Clara off the board and led the Bulldogs to victory.

Against Canisius, outfielder Olivia Vinyard ’20 maneuvered a run in the seventh, but the Bulldogs were simply unable to score as the Griffins picked up runs ahead of them in the sixth.

“It was a great start to our season” said Tarte. “We came home with two wins, and a few really close losses. We played some really good teams, all who had 8–10 or so games under their belt already this season, and hung with them.”

In its first game on Saturday, Yale fell to Colorado State 4–2, and in its second game, the Bulldogs lost to the San Jose State team 3–0. Against Colorado State, starting pitcher Nicole Conway ’22 threw eight strikeouts over seven innings in the circle. Conway has been consistently improving over the season and had a strong opportunity to flex her skills against Colorado’s talented batting lineup.

“The weekend was a great start for the team” said Conway. “We were able to identify places for improvement but overall showed ourselves that we can compete against good teams. I’m very excited for this weekend as we continue to prepare for Ivies.”

Yale trailed 2–0 in the bottom of the sixth inning against Colorado, unable to beat the Rams’ pitchers. The Bulldogs rallied to push across a run when Tarte scored on an error after Grobman’s single, and outfielder Giovy Webb ’20 pulled a run in the bottom of the seventh. However, the Bulldogs were quickly eclipsed by two quick runs from Colorado in the seventh, culminating in a 4–2 defeat for Yale. Despite the loss, the ability of the Bulldogs to rally and score against a talented team like Colorado State was seen favorably by the team’s seniors.

“I think we learned a lot from our first weekend out” Webb said. “As a team we tried various strategies and found that we were more successful with some than others, but overall, we came out on top and won a couple of games against really strong teams. We competed really well throughout the tournament and know what we want to focus on these upcoming days heading into our next weekend of play.”

San Jose State similarly out-pitched the Bulldogs. Despite landing a significant number of hits in their at-bats, the field likewise moved too quickly for the Bulldogs to score any runs. Despite this, the team held their own against the Spartans.

In their final game of the Silicon Valley Classic on Sunday, the Bulldogs were able to edge out California Baptist for a solid 3–2 win. In an impressive play, outfielder Gretchen Bunovsky ’23 sacrificed a fly in order to set up utility player Katie Tews ’22 with the winning run in the bottom of the final inning. The California Baptist Lancers kept the game tied in the fourth and the sixth, but couldn’t hold on in the final moments of the game.

The winning play was a coordinated offensive maneuver — beginning when Tews secured a foothold on second base with a deep centerfield hit. Webb then took the dive and pushed Tews to third with a sacrifice bunt. Bunovsky followed with a fly ball to centerfield that was airborne just long enough to allow Tews to round home. The 3–2 final score was a walk-off victory for the Bulldogs.

“The team played each game to the very last out, so I was proud to see how they competed,” said head coach Jeanette Goodwin. “We need to find ways to manufacture some more runs early in the game, as we did against Santa Clara. Our pitchers kept us in every game, which was inspiring on many levels. I’m looking forward to getting them some more run support this coming weekend.”

The Bulldogs go on to Lynchburg, Virginia this upcoming weekend to test their metal in the Liberty Classic.

 

Andrew Bellah | bellah.bellah@yale.edu