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Nelson, Onorato Hit Milestone Homers As Yale Splits With Wagner

Christy Nelson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Christy Nelson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Onorato Ties Single-Season Mark; Nelson Ties Career Record

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Two Yale softball players hit milestone home runs Wednesday in a 5-3 victory over Wagner in the first game of non-league doubleheader. On the first pitch of the game, Sarah Onorato hit her 10th homer of the season, tying the single-season school record. Later in the game, Christy Nelson belted a two-run homer, the 17th of her outstanding career, which also ties the school record.

The news was not all good for the Bulldogs on the day. Wagner won the second game 5-4, and Onorato was held hitless, ending her hitting streak at 20 games, the fourth longest in Ivy League history.

After struggling at the plate over the weekend, Yale started strong, banging out four hits in the first two innings to grab a 3-0 lead.

Onorato got it started with her blast, which ties her with Shayna Filson '04, who hit 10 homers in 2002. The Bulldogs, though, weren't done in the inning. Balta followed with a walk, stole second and scored on Nelson's single to center field.

Yale added another run in the second. Ong led off with a single, moved to second on Alex Lucas's sacrifice bunt and scored on Onorato's double to right-center.

Wagner got one back in the bottom of the second, but the Bulldogs struck for two more in the fifth when Nelson hit a two-run homer to right-centerfield.

She is now tied with Filson and Katie Edwards '09 for the all-time Yale lead in homers.

Wagner scored twice in the sixth to get back within two, but Yale pitcher Chelsey Dunham kept the Seahawks off the board the rest of the way. Dunham earned her fourth win of the season, allowing six hits and two earned runs.

"We came out swinging the bats again. It was good to see us hitting the ball hard throughout the lineup today," said Yale head coach Jen Goodwin. "Chelsey was sharp and our defense played outstanding behind her.  Onorato is just crushing the ball to all fields, so we couldn't be happier to see that."

It was a bit of a different story in the second game as Yale was held to only five hits.

Still, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead with a three-run first inning. Kelsey Warkentine's single drove home the first run, and Jennifer Ong later added a two-run double.

Nelson's RBI single in the second increased the lead to 4-0, which is the way it stayed until Wagner tied it with a four-run fifth inning.

Yale had a chance to regain the lead but left the bases loaded in the sixth.

The Seahawks then won it in dramatic fashion on Hayley Sullivan's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.

Rhydian Glass pitched well for the Bulldogs. She did not allow an earned run in 5.1 innings before being relieved by Kristen Leung.

"We manufactured some runs and had the lead for most of the game," Goodwin said. "We need to get used to holding that lead and adding to it, and we didn't do that.  Rhydian pitched an outstanding game, and when we brought Kristen in she just didn't have her best stuff today.  Our offense needs to do a better job of picking up our pitchers in that situation.  We had one out and bases loaded and couldn't push the run across.  We have some things to sharpen up on over the next few practices in preparation for the weekend."

The Bulldogs play back-to-back doubleheader Saturday and Sunday at Harvard. The action gets underway at 12:30 p.m. both days.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity