A late Bulldog charge was not enough to overcome an early deficit on Wednesday at Yale Field as Iona edged the Elis 7-6.
The Bulldogs (7-13, 2-2 Ivy) were looking for a victory against the Gaels before Ivy competition this weekend against Princeton and Cornell, but victory was not in the Elis’ cards as Iona scored four runs in the first two innings and then led the rest of the way. By the fifth inning, Yale was down 5-0.
“We couldn’t throw strikes at the beginning, and that hurt us,” catcher Eric Rasmussen ’06 said. “It’s tough to battle back against any team when you’re down 5-0.”
Yale surrendered three runs in the first inning on only one hit, two walks, a sac fly, and a wild pitch. The Gaels scored again in the second and went up 5-0 in the fifth on a Rob Fortner-Villanova homerun in the fifth.
But the Bulldogs battled back with three runs in the sixth to make the score 5-3. Iona answered with two runs in the top of the seventh. In the eighth, the Elis came charging back, scoring two runs on a Rasmussen RBI single and another run on a wild pitch.
Down 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth, the Elis made one last charge, but the early deficit proved too much to overcome. First baseman Marc Sawyer ’07 opened up the ninth with a single and then advanced to second on a passed ball. Infielder Pedro Obregon ’07 then singled to right, and Sawyer went to third. Outfielder Matt Stone ’06 laid down a sac bunt to move Obregon to second. Outfielder Jake Doyle ’07 grounded out to short, scoring Sawyer to bring the Elis within one. The RBI was Doyle’s team-leading fifteenth. Outfielder C.J. Orrico ’05 came to the plate as the potential go-ahead run but grounded out to end the inning.
The Bulldogs hope to put Wednesday’s loss behind them with Ivy competition on the schedule this weekend. Yale will play host to Princeton (1-3 Ivy, 12-10) for two games on Friday and then Cornell (1-1, 4-15) for two games on Saturday.
In last season’s games against the Big Red at Ithaca on April 5, Yale won the day game 4-3 before dropping the nightcap in extra-innings 5-4.
The Tigers are the defending Ivy champion, and they have won three out of the last four Ivy titles. But their 1-3 Ivy record so far this season is good for the worst in the Lou Gehrig Division and the entire Ancient Eight. In league action this season, Princeton split a double header against Dartmouth (1-1) and dropped two games to Harvard (3-1).
In last season’s match-up, the Tigers took both games from Yale at Princeton on April 6 with scores of 7-4 and 16-6, respectively. The first game went to the bottom of the eleventh before Tiger left-fielder Eric Fitzgerald ended the game with a walk-off three-run homer. But Rasmussen said the Bulldogs are not intimidated at all by the defending Ivy champions.
“We battled [Princeton] in the first game last year with a lot of guys out with injuries,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a challenge, but there’s no reason for us to be intimidated at all.”
Eli infielder Zac Bradley ’06 said head coach John Stuper told the team they have the upper hand this year on Princeton so far as skill is concerned. Bradley hopes to recover from a shoulder injury in time to rejoin the team for Friday.
“Coach said Princeton doesn’t have a talent advantage on us this year,” Bradley said. “We feel like it’s time for a changing of the guard, but the only way to do that is to beat them one-on-one.”