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Softball swept by Dartmouth in three tight weekend games

Bears fall by two or fewer runs in each game, Sunday doubleheader matches both walk-off defeats

<p>Brianna Rodriguez ’24 and Grace Ladd ’22 both hit the first home runs of their careers on Sunday.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics</p>

Brianna Rodriguez ’24 and Grace Ladd ’22 both hit the first home runs of their careers on Sunday.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

The softball team (11-18, 3-9 Ivy) came up short in all three of their games at Dartmouth (12-20, 6-3 Ivy) this past weekend. After the Saturday game ended with Brown scoring just one run, the Bears stepped up offensively and scored four and seven runs respectively in their Sunday walk-off losses. 

Brown 1, Dartmouth 3

The Bears were cold offensively in their opening game against the Big Green Saturday afternoon. Brown scored its only run by taking advantage of a wild pitch and two errors. The Bears did not earn a hit on the game.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Dartmouth’s Billie McFadyen scored a one-run homer, putting the Big Green up 1-0. The Bears did not allow another run until four innings later. Brown’s pitcher Alexis Guevarra ’25 finished the game with five strikeouts. 

After a fruitless second inning for both teams, Brown’s scoring effort was started in the third when Meghan Gormley ’23 reached first base on a fielding error by Dartmouth’s third baseman. Gormley advanced to second base thanks to a wild pitch and crossed home plate after another third baseman error on a sacrifice bunt by Nicole Kim ’22. The throw from third to first went wide, allowing Gormley to make it home from second base to tie the game 1-1.

Neither team scored in the fourth inning and Dartmouth broke the deadlock in the fifth when McFadyen batted in a two-run single with two outs and two strikes on the count, putting the Big Green up 3-1.

Dartmouth’s two-run lead proved insurmountable for the Bears in their last two turns at bat. Brown had the potential to tie the game in the seventh with two runners on base, but two swinging strikeouts ended the game. 

Brown 4, Dartmouth 5

In an even closer game that went into extra innings, the Bears and Big Green both finished the game with nine hits, an improvement from Bruno’s performance the day before.

Dartmouth struck early, scoring a run in the bottom of the first after a McFadyen double to center field advanced a walked runner to third base. A fly out to center field with one out allowed the runner on third to get home, putting Dartmouth up 1-0. 

Both teams went scoreless for the next three innings and Brown took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth when Grace Ladd ’22 batted a two-run homer to center field with two outs. 

The Bears did not enjoy their lead for long, as two consecutive doubles from Dartmouth in the bottom of the same inning each batted in a runner, notching the score at 3-2. Pitcher Jodie Aguirre ’24 entered the game as a reliever and ended the inning without allowing another run. 

Brown responded in the following inning, when Laurel Moody ’25 led off with a double to left field. A sacrifice bunt by Leah Carey ’25 allowed Moody to advance to third. Moody completed her trip around the bases when Vanessa Alexander ’25 singled to shortstop, creating a 3-3 tie.

Brown’s infield prevented any Dartmouth runner from reaching base in the bottom of the fifth, and the Bears regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Julia Gubner ’23 reached first base on a throwing error by Dartmouth’s pitcher and Kim pinch ran for her. Kim stole second, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice after a fly out and gave Brown the 4-3 lead after making it home on a wild pitch.

The Bears suppressed Dartmouth’s offense again in the bottom of the sixth but could not hang on to their lead. In the bottom of the seventh, McFadyen struck again with a solo home run, and the game was tied again at 4-4, sending the game into extra innings. 

Brown threatened to score in the eighth with a runner left on third, but the inning ended without another run.

Guevara entered the game to pitch after a Dartmouth double in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the next batter. With two outs and Big Green runners on first and third, the game ended with a grounder to shortstop that Brown could not grip in time to make the throw to first base. The Dartmouth runner on third advanced home, breaking the tie and winning the game 5-4. 

Brown 7, Dartmouth 9

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In the final game of the series, the Bears increased their number of hits and runs but again came up short against Dartmouth. 

A McFadyen single up the middle sparked Dartmouth’s scoring in the first, allowing a runner on second to make it home. The Bears answered in the second with two runs of their own when Ladd reached base on a third baseman fielding error and crossed the plate after Brianna Rodriguez ’24 doubled. Moody reached base on a single and followed home on a fielder’s choice from Alexander’s grounder to shortstop, putting Brown up 2-1.

Dartmouth briefly tied the game 2-2 in the third, but in the top of the fourth, Brown added five more runs. Rodriguez cranked a two-run homer to left field to get the scoring going. A Dartmouth throwing error allowed the next Brown run, and a Katie O’Leary GS double brought in two more runs, giving Brown a 7-2 lead. 

The Big Green scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and in their next at-bat added three more for a score of 7-6. A two-run single to left field and a double to the same spot batted Dartmouth runners home.

The sixth inning was quiet for both teams, and Brown threatened to score in the top of the seventh with a runner left on third but was unable to add insurance to its lead. 

Dartmouth took the game and the series in the bottom of the third, tying the game off a Brown throwing error and winning it on a two-run walk-off home run for a final score of 9-7.

After a tough day offensively Saturday, Brown adjusted its hitting approach to come out strong the following day, according to Head Coach Kate Refsnyder. “Brianna Rodriguez led off with a really good battle and then got a hit against the same pitcher that no-hit us the day before,” she   said. “Hitting is always contagious, but especially so with our team.” 

The Bears displayed their hitting capabilities on Sunday with a multitude of players reaching base. “We’re at six people that have hit home runs this year,” Refsnyder said. “We have more who can hit the ball out of the park.”

Rodriguez and Ladd both hit the first home runs of their careers on Sunday, stepping up in key moments for the Bears.

Rodriguez attributed the hitting improvement to the team’s staying focused on itself. “We decided to just play our game,” Rodriguez said. “We wanted to just do what we know how to do and do it well.”

The Bears stayed connected despite the losses which kept them in contention during all three games. “One of the best things was just hearing my teammates cheer me on and support me,” Ladd said of her home run.

Refsnyder commented on Ladd’s accomplishment as a senior who has faced adversity throughout her career with COVID-19 and injuries. “We see her strength in and out of practice every single day,” Refsnyder said. “For her to step up this weekend when she had the opportunity was pretty awesome.”

The Bears look to bounce back in their road game against Boston College on Tuesday.



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