After winning just one of the first 42 meetings between the Little Three rivals from 1987 through 2006, Wesleyan has now won six of the last 10 and five of the last seven from the Ephs. Three of Wesleyan's recent six wins have come by a lone run.
Williams jumped ahead with two runs in the top of the 1st of the game Friday but Wesleyan responded with two of its own in the 1st, courtesy of Talia Bernstein's '11 RBI hit, plating Dendy who had singled, and a second run on an infield error.
Wesleyan took a 3-2 lead in the 4th on Sam Epstein's '12 (#11, photo insert, upper right) run-producing double to left as Anu Rimal '11 found the plate. Rimal had led off the frame with a hit and moved to second on a sacrifice. That lead lasted only until Williams' next at-bat as the Ephs scored twice for a 4-3 lead.
Neither team scored in its next at-bat but Wesleyan rallied for the lead in the 6th. Alexis Kral '12 started things off with a base hit. Chrissy Bello '12 then sent a high fly ball to center field which was misplayed by Williams, sending runners to second and third. Williams retired the next two Cardinals before Dendy sent a sharp grounder back over the mound and into center field for the 5-4 lead.
Though Williams got the tying run to second base with two outs in the 7th, Dendy got the final out on an unassisted grounder to Bernstein at first to end the game.
In the opener of the twin-bill Sunday, Williams banged out 14 of its 16 hits in the first three innings to build a 17-0 lead. Among the hits for the Ephs were three homers, including a grand slam. But as quickly as Williams put its lead together, the Cardinals rallied to score 14 runs over the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings to make it a three-run game at 17-14. Key hits for Wesleyan were a three-run homer by Molly O'Connell '09, the 10th of her career improving her school record, and a three-run double by Rimal. Though Wesleyan got the tying run to the plate in the 5th, the rally stalled and Williams hung on for the win.
Dendy then logged her second complete-game victory over Williams during the three-game series despite allowing 10 hits and four runs in the second game of the twin-bill. She walked only one and got nine strikeouts including two big ones with the tying runs on base in the top of the 7th. Wesleyan used a five-run uprising in the 3rd, getting four of their eight hits in the game to take control. Dendy starting things off in the 3rd with ball to third base that got by the fielder and allowed the first run to score, followed by a two-run single from Bernstein. Kral brought in the fourth Cardinal run with a single and Bello capped the inning with a run-scoring double. The sixth Wesleyan run came off the bat of Julia Chamberlin '09 in the 6th. When O'Connell clouted a single in the 5th inning, she registered the 100th hit of her career, the ninth Cardinals to do so.
Williams cut the gap to two runs in the 7th and got runners to first and second with one out before Dendy chalked up her final two strikeouts of the afternoon to seal the deal.
Wesleyan closed out Little Three play with a 3-3 record while Williams is 1-2 and Amherst, 2-1. Williams and Amherst will meet April 24-25.
Eastern Connecticut took the measure of Wesleyan in a double-header Thurs., April 16, winning by scores of 7-3 and 3-0. The teams were tied 3-3 heading into the 7th inning of the opener, but Eastern rallied for four runs, two of them unearned. Kral led the Cardinals at the plate with three hits and two RBI.
Wesleyan was held to two hits by Taylor Zavadsky '10 in the nightcap by Eastern's ace. In between the hits, Wesleyan had 17 players retired consecutively by a hurler who has given up only 37 hits in 100 innings of work this year. The Warriors broke a scoreless tie with four hits and a sacrifice fly in the 5th to push across their three runs. Pitcher Chelsea Swete '11 had a decent outing in going the distance while giving up nine hits and three earned runs.
Wesleyan had another out-of-conference double-header as the team visited Brandeis on Sat., April 18. Wesleyan squandered two strong pitching effort from Dendy and Swete with untimely late-inning miscues leading to unearned runs and a pair of one-run defeats. The Judges got the only run of the nightcap on an error in the 6th inning, then got out of a bases-loaded situation due to three walks in the 7th to escape with a 1-0 decision. Wesleyan was on its way to a win in the first game but a mistake on what would have been the last out of the game opened the door as Wesleyan let a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the 7th slip away for a 4-3 setback. Bello paced the Cardinals at the plate, going 3-for-6 over the two games.
Wesleyan was to play another double-header, this time at home vs. NESCAC East Trinity on Tues, April 21 but the games have been postponed due to weather. The teams are tentatively scheduled to play a single game Mon., April 27. That game will be webcast and details for watching are on the athletics home page under "Webcasts."
Before that, however, the Cardinals will try to lock up a NESCAC tournament spot during a three-game series at Hamilton starting Fri., April 24 with a single game.
(all photos courtesy of Ron Bernstein P'11)