Baseball breaks out the brooms

The next time you visit friends at Columbia or Penn, make sure to bring a broom.

The baseball team swept the Lions (3-23, 1-11 Ivy) and the Quakers (8-18, 5-7 Ivy) in two doubleheaders at Yale Field this weekend. On Saturday, the Elis (14-10, 5-3 Ivy) edged Columbia 4-2 in the first game and pounded out an 8-2 win in the second. Yesterday, the Bulldogs blanked Penn 2-0 in the opener and came back to win the last game 7-6.

“After last weekend, it was a great way to bounce back,” captain C. J. Orrico ’05 said. “We needed these wins to give us a good feeling going into Harvard next weekend so that we can move toward our goal of winning an Ivy title.”

Saturday was a beautiful day in New Haven, and for the Elis, the results were just as satisfying as the weather. In the two wins over Columbia, Yale outscored the Lions 12-4, committing only two errors to Columbia’s four. The Bulldogs offense came up with big hits at the right times, and the pitching was stellar as usual.

In the first game, a seven-inning match, the Elis came out swinging. Following a one-two-three top of the first, the Bulldogs opened the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles by second baseman Zac Bradley ’06 and designated hitter Justin Ankney ’07. Marc Sawyer ’07 then reached on an error, scoring Bradley, and John Janco ’06 doubled Ankney home for the second run. The Elis scored again in the fifth when Matt Stone ’06 singled to plate Sawyer, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Yale added an insurance run in the sixth with some small ball. After Orrico led off the inning with a walk, catcher Eric Rasmussen ’06 laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Orrico to second. One batter later, Bradley lofted a double to right-center field, scoring Orrico.

Starter Alec Smith ’05 rebounded from last Monday’s rough outing against Princeton with a strong performance on Saturday. He scattered six hits over six-plus innings, allowing only one earned run and two walks. Smith also struck out three en route to his third win of the season. Adam Barrick ’06 relieved Smith in the seventh and retired two batters before Brett Rosenthal ’07 came in to get the last out and the save.

“Yale did the small things well,” Columbia catcher Tom Stevens said. “They strung their hits together, and they didn’t make any stupid mistakes.”

The Bulldogs followed an excellent first game with an even better second game. The offense exploded for eight runs in nine innings, the pitching was outstanding, and the defense was perfect. After a scoreless first inning, Columbia second baseman Val Miklausich homered in the top of the second to put the Lions up 1-0. But that was the last time Columbia would hold the lead. The Elis scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth, one in the fifth, and four more in the sixth. Seven of Yale’s nine starters scored at least one run in the contest, and three players — Saywer, Josh Zabar ’06, and Jake Doyle ’07 — had two hits in the game.

But the story of the game was starting pitcher Mike Morgiandini ’07, who struck out 11 in seven innings to earn his first win of the year. Mongiardini allowed only two runs and one walk in the outing. Colin Ward-Henninger ’05 and Matt Fealey ’06 pitched two scoreless innings of relief to close out the game.

Mongiardini attributed his success to the players behind him.

“The defense played awesome as the game went on,” Mongiardini said. “If [Columbia] hit the ball on the ground, it was basically an out all the way. P.J. [Gorynski ’08] played an outstanding game behind the plate today … I was just trying to get our offense back out there as quick as possible because they were red hot.”

The Bulldogs did not cool off before Sunday’s doubleheader against Penn. In the first game, Josh Sowers ’05 pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout, allowing just three hits in the contest. Sowers fanned eight batters and walked none to improve his record to 4-0.

“I kept my mistakes to a minimum and [Rasmussen] called a great game,” Sowers said. “When Ras and I are in sync, it helps me locate my pitches and stay ahead of hitters.”

On the offensive side, Doyle scored the Elis’ first run of the game on a Chris Esper ’06 RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. The Bulldogs added another run in the fifth — Zabar opened the inning with a single to center field, and pinch runner Josh Cox ’08 moved to third on a single by Stone. Orrico then plated Stone with a single.

In the second game, the Elis scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to overcome a 6-4 deficit and take the lead for good. Sawyer opened the inning with a single up the middle, and Janco walked to put runners on first and second with nobody out. After a pitching change, Stone reached on a fielder’s choice and Sawyer moved to third. Zabar drove in Sawyer with a single through the left side, and Orrico plated Stone on a single to right. Doyle pinch-ran for Zabar and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Rasmussen.

Starter Jon Hollis ’06 allowed three earned runs in six-plus innings, and Barrick picked up the win by retiring both batters he faced. Rosenthal picked up his third save of the year with two perfect innings to close the game.

“Last weekend we were disappointed in how we played, so this weekend we wanted to get as many wins as possible,” Rosenthal said. “We were really happy to get the sweep, and this puts us into a great position going into games against teams in our division.”

The Elis return to action Tuesday against New York Tech. The game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Yale Field. Rosenthal said he wasn’t sure what to expect from the Bears.

“Baseball is a funny game, and we have to come prepared,” Rosenthal said. “They could be great, they could be bad, but either way we just have to go out there and play hard.”

Yale second baseman Zac Bradley ’06 (1) dives back to first to avoid the tag of Columbia first baseman Tighe Holden Saturday at Yale Field. Bradley went 2-for-8 in the two games against the Lions with a pair of RBIs in the team’s sweep of the Lions. The Bulldogs also took two from the University of Pennsylvania Sunday to improve to 5-3 in Ivy League play.
Smita Gopisetty
Yale second baseman Zac Bradley ’06 (1) dives back to first to avoid the tag of Columbia first baseman Tighe Holden Saturday at Yale Field. Bradley went 2-for-8 in the two games against the Lions with a pair of RBIs in the team’s sweep of the Lions. The Bulldogs also took two from the University of Pennsylvania Sunday to improve to 5-3 in Ivy League play.

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