The Bulldogs’ Virginia trip came with mixed results at the annual Liberty Classic — for the second straight weekend, the Elis went 2–3 in tournament play, dropping the final match against Elon 6–4 in the game’s final inning.
Yale’s (4–6, 0–0 Ivy) opening game came against Fairfield (2–7, 0–0 MAAC), which it defeated 14–6 behind an offensive explosion featuring 13 hits. The 14 runs scored on Friday are the most in a game by the Bulldogs this season and their second most in the last two years. The Elis beat Fairfield in only six innings because of the mercy rule. First-year catcher Sam Goodcase ’23 shined, going perfect in four plate appearances and smashing her first career home run. Yale fell behind early, conceding two runs in the game’s first two innings. But they rebounded, outscoring the Stags 10-1 to lead the game by seven runs entering the fifth inning. The offensive outburst was driven by right fielder Giovy Webb ’20, who knocked in three runs on a double in the second inning. The Bulldogs never looked back, riding a five-inning outing by Miranda Papes ’21 and landing her third win on the season.
“In my opinion, Fairfield was our most impressive win,” captain Annie Tarte ’20 said. “Although they might not have been deemed the most talented team there, it’s always loads of fun to mercy rule someone. It wasn’t a perfect game for us, but our offense was unstoppable and I loved seeing both the upperclassmen and lowerclassmen attacking Fairfield’s pitchers.”
The story of the weekend’s losses was struggles on offense. Yale was shut out in two of its three defeats, losing 5–0 to East Carolina (11–7, 0–0 AAC) and 4–0 to Butler (12–4, 0–0 Big East) in consecutive games. In Friday’s loss to East Carolina, Tarte and third baseman Kortney Ponce ’21 both notched two hits.
The Elis also struggled against Butler star pitcher Mackenzie Griman. Griman, who is undefeated on the season, pitched all seven innings and only conceded three hits. Yale’s sophomore pitcher Nicole Conway ’22 had a strong outing, pitching a complete game and only surrendering seven hits.
The Bulldogs bounced back in a major way on Saturday afternoon, beating Hofstra 7–6 on first baseman Willa Ferrer’s ’23 walk off home run. Ferrer posted four hits in as many at bats with two RBIs, leading the team’s offensive charge. Yale entered the final inning up a run after designated hitter Sydney Grobman’s ’21 RBI double in the bottom of the sixth.
Hofstra struck back, tying the game in the top of the frame before conceding the walk-off shot to right field. Tarte continued her hot start to the season, going two-for-three and scoring two runs. Papes improved to 4–0 on the season, allowing only two hits and a run in her two innings of relief.
“We were really able to show resilience this weekend,” Conway said. “The weather was less than ideal but everyone came to play. In addition we showed great team camaraderie, everyone was there to pick each other up and do what it took to win the game. The best win we had this weekend was against Hofstra. Willa had a walk-off home run in the seventh that was an absolute bomb. It really showed that we have each other’s back and we’re able to pull out the win in a close game!”
Yale’s final game featured a heartbreaking finish against Elon (10–8, 0–0 CAA). The Bulldogs led 2–0 after three innings, as starting pitcher Julia Grobman ’23 had not allowed a hit. Entering the bottom of the seventh, the Elis clung to a 4–1 lead behind Ferrer’s second home run in two games. Webb and left fielder Lindsay Kuss ’20 both went two-for-two on the day, each tallying a run. Tarte added an RBI and second baseman Carolyn Skotz ’23 and center fielder Olivia Vinyard ’20 both had two hits.
The Phoenix scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh, including a three-run walk-off home run. Elon’s Claudia Penny handed Grobman her third loss of the season, despite another strong outing for the first year.
“We showed that offensively we have the potential to be a very dangerous team,” Webb said. “We strung together quite a few hits this weekend which is exciting. We have a very strong line up and I’m excited to see how we develop further into the season as we manage to execute plans a bit better at the plate.”
Looking ahead, Yale will travel to Clearwater, Florida on Friday for the Clearwater Spring Break Invitational Tournament. The Elis will begin Ivy League play the following week with a two-game series against Penn.
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