The Bulldogs will conclude their out-of-conference tournament schedule this weekend at the Clearwater Spring Break Invitational. Yale will then begin Ivy League play the following week in Philadelphia when they take on the Quakers in a three-game series starting on March 14.
The Elis are flying to Florida for a five-game bout against formidable opponents. The schedule starts with a doubleheader on Friday against Penn State (8–12, 0–0 Big 10) and Robert Morris (6–8, 0–0 NEC). The Nittany Lions have already played 20 games this season and in two more tournaments than Yale. Penn State is also 2–0 all-time against the Bulldogs, with most of its victories coming in 2016. Robert Morris, meanwhile, is coming off of a 6–5 win against UNC Wilmington in North Carolina.
“We showed that offensively we have the potential to be a very dangerous team,” Giovy Webb ’20 said. “We strung together quite a few hits [last] weekend which is exciting. 1–9 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.”
Saturday will feature another doubleheader against Tennessee at Chattanooga (5–10, 0–0 SoCon) and Army (8–7, 0–0 Patriot). Chattanooga is down in a three-game losing streak but has only given up five runs in those losses. It is the second least amount of runs allowed in a three-game skid in program history. The Mocs have a 56.5-percent win percentage under current head coach Frank Reed. Army, on the other hand, is riding a three-game win streak. The Black Knights beat Yale’s foe Dartmouth last week 12–4. They also bested Charleston Southern 9–2 in South Carolina. Army posted a 5–1 record to start the season, including winning four of five games at the Bash in the Boro tournament in early February. Before its recent three-game bounce, they had lost six in a row.
Yale’s final game will be Sunday against Providence (3–7, 0–0 Big East). The Friars only won one game last weekend at The Spring Games tournament in Florida. Their trip featured a 6–0 loss against Columbia. Providence is coming off a 13–3 five-inning victory against Merrimack. The Friars posted eight runs in the game’s third inning.
The Elis, meanwhile, will return back from Florida to kick off their Ivy League schedule next weekend. Before classes resume on March 23, Yale will play two games at Penn (5–2, 0–0 Ivy) and host Princeton (4–4, 0–0 Ivy) for two days as well. The Quakers ranked second in the annual Ivy League preseason poll, while the Tigers claimed fifth, only a spot above the Bulldogs. Penn has had a strong start to the season, including a 1–0 win against Butler, whom the Elis fell to last week. Yale will also host Hartford (6–2, 0–0 AEC) for a game on March 17, in between the Bulldogs’ two Ivy packed weekends.
“I think our team shows strength throughout our entire line up, and across our entire defense,” team captain Annie Tarte ’20 said. “Sometimes, teams are carried offensively by three or four strong hitters, or defensively by one or two strong fielders. This isn’t the case with our team, which is why I’m so excited for conference play to begin. We can produce runs in every part of our line up, and can rely on any of our defensive players to ball out. This is one of the factors that’s going to make us successful this season.”
The season has already been filled with close games for the Blue and White — it’s 4–6 in the preseason, with six of their ten games being decided by two runs or less. The Liberty Classic last weekend was marked by strong offensive performances from Tarte, who batted .400 in four games, and infielder Willa Ferrer ’23, who belted a walk-off home run for a 7–6 win last Saturday against Hofstra.
Ferrer hit her second home run in the bottom of the sixth inning last weekend against Elon, sending the Bulldogs to a 4–0 lead before Elon recaptured the game by scoring five runs in the seventh. The late-game has been the strongest challenge for the Bulldogs; three of their six losses have seen their opponents either recapture or expand their lead in the sixth and seventh.
Tarte, Webb and infielder Sydney Grobman ’21 are all batting over .300 this season. Tarte also leads the team with 11 hits. The Bulldogs will try to continue their offensive drive this weekend.
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