Yale Athletics

The Bulldogs struggled in their final games before the kick-off of Ivy action this weekend, failing to record a win at the Bear Down Fiesta tournament. Yale will have to quickly turn its attention to the Ancient Eight, as old rival Harvard comes to New Haven for a three game series this weekend.

The Elis (2–8, 0–0 Ivy) arrived in Arizona with a challenging slate awaiting them. Yale played five games against three top opponents: Marist (9–11, 0–0 MAAC), No. 8 Arizona (19–4, 0–0 Pac-12) and the University of Nevada – Las Vegas (18–5, 0–0 MWC). 

“It was amazing to get to go home,” Arizona native Nicole Conway ’23 said. “I’m so grateful for our coaches trying to get you home at least once in your four years. It was definitely surreal to be home and playing at the University of Arizona given that I grew up going to games in that same stadium and now I had the opportunity to play there.”

The weekend started slow as the Bulldogs were unable to score in their opening game against Marist, ultimately losing 9–0. Maddie Latta ’25 nearly pitched a complete game, before Hannah Turner ’25 came on in relief in the seventh inning. Arizona native Katie Donahey ’25 shined at the plate, leading the team with two hits including a double. The Red Foxes capitalized on a rough pitching day, hitting three home runs.

Yale’s arguably best performance of the weekend came against its toughest opponent — the Bulldogs led Arizona for four innings before the game started to slip away. Catcher Sam Goodcase ’24 got the scoring started with a solo homerun in the first inning. Conway gave up just one hit in the bottom half of the frame. At the bottom of the second, a Yale error gave the Wildcats a runner on second with no outs. Conway worked out of the jam, retiring the next three batters in a row and preserving the Eli lead.

“We went into the game knowing Arizona was very talented and so I had the mentality of taking it one out at a time,” Conway said. “Sam’s homerun was very important in helping loosen me and the team up. I think everyone did a great job putting their ranking and who they were as a team aside and just playing the game. The support of the team was huge for me as I was throwing and we got out of a few jams without giving up any runs. It has been so great this year to pitch knowing that they have my back.”

Trouble arose at the bottom of the third when Arizona loaded the bases with no outs. Conway again worked out of the jam, escaping the inning without allowing a run and stranding the three Arizona baserunners. An inning later, Arizona was threatening with runners on second and third and only one out. Wildcat sophomore Giulia Koutsoyanopulos roped a ball that looked like it would land in left field and score both runs, but shortstop Carolyn Skotz ’24 made a highlight reel play, jumping to snag the ball and turning a double play after the runner on second got stranded going to third.

Arizona finally broke through at the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs on an RBI single from first baseman Carlie Scupin. An inning later, the lead ballooned to 5–1 when second baseman Allie Skaggs blasted a three-run home run. Yale’s offense was unable to muster a response in the seventh. Goodcase led the way with two hits and an RBI. Conway pitched six innings and recorded two strikeouts.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs faced UNLV looking to record their first win of the weekend. Senior pitcher Miranda Papes ’22 took the mound, but the Rebels offense proved to be too powerful. Papes only allowed eight hits, but UNLV capitalized on every offensive chance, scoring eight runs and ultimately winning the game after five innings. Yale managed just a single hit, coming from Goodcase.

“I think one of the big reasons that I’ve come out hot is because of the gap year that I took,” Goodcase said when asked about her strong offensive start to the season. “I’m very excited to be back on the field! My gap year showed me how much I really love the sport and I am just trying to enjoy this entire season. I think that is where my successes at the plate are coming from.”

Saturday’s second contest was a rematch with Marist, featuring a lot more offensive firepower. Carmen Muscolina ’24 gave Yale an early lead when she hit a three-run home-run at the top of the first. The Red Foxes answered quickly, putting up six runs on six hits in the bottom of the frame.

The Bulldogs responded the next inning with runs of their own. Latta tripled to start the second inning and was driven home by a Willa Ferrer ’24 sacrifice bunt. Marist added a solo homerun in the fourth inning to extend their lead to 7–4. 

In the fifth, Yale struck back as Goodcase doubled early and was followed by a single from Grayson Vives ’25. Goodcase later scored on a wild pitch as Skotz worked a full count in the same at-bat, ultimately drawing a walk and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Vives scored on a throwing error that gave Yale two runners in scoring position, but the Red Foxes escaped after Ferrer grounded out.

Marist added a run in the sixth inning and won the game 8–6, despite only recording one more hit than Yale. Latta ended the day with three hits, a run, and an RBI in four at-bats. Goodcase went 2-for-3 with two runs and Muscolina recorded three RBIs. 

Yale’s final game on Sunday was a 9–0 loss to UNLV. The team only recorded three hits and lost the game in five innings. Conway started the game, but only pitched 1.2 innings before handing the ball off to Latta. The play of the game came courtesy of Donahey, though, who made an incredible diving catch in the fifth inning. The Arizona native went 1-for-2 in the game.

“It was so wonderful to be back and show my team a little bit of my home state,” Donahey said. “It felt like my two separate worlds were colliding into one. I feel so lucky that I was able to combine two very important aspects of my life for the weekend. I know my fellow Arizonian teammate, Nicole Conway, feels the same way and I’m glad we were able to play in her hometown after two years of not traveling!”

The Elis’ conference slate will begin this weekend when Yale hosts Harvard on Friday.

Nader Granmayeh '23 is a former staff writer who covered football and softball for the Yale Daily News.