A small group of dedicated, blanketed fans braved the drizzly conditions to watch Yale take on Quinnipiac in Wednesday’s mid-week baseball game, but their loyalty to Yale was not rewarded.
On their visit to Yale Field, the Bobcats leapt ahead early in the first inning, and despite loading the bases several times, the Bulldogs failed to bounce back, falling 5-3.
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“We’re playing a lot of close games recently,” captain Stefan Schropp ’09 said. “We’re missing a lot of opportunities right now. We’d like to be capitalizing on a lot more of them — to have something to bring it all together.”
Quinnipiac ( 7-13) opened strongly with a four-run inning in the first. Will Stratton ’11 pitched for the Bulldogs, and allowed only four hits, which, aided by two Eli errors, were translated into the bulk of the Bobcats runs.
In the bottom of the first, Yale (6-10, 2-2 Ivy) tried to strike back. Batting second, Schropp singled to right field and advanced to second as Andy Megee ’11 reached first on a fielders choice. The two stole on a wild pitch bringing both into scoring position, and first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 sacrificed to right field for the RBI. Schropp scored, and the bases were filled when utility player Charlie Neil ’12 walked and first baseman Chris Sweeney ’10 was hit by a pitch. Despite loaded bases, the inning ended 4-1 with no further runs.
“That first inning is absolutely what killed us,” Megee said. “It was just disappointing. It was a rough inning — for the rest of the game we played as well as they did.”
The second quickly passed seeing only seven batters, and in the third, Joe Castaldi ’10 was brought up from the bullpen to replace Alex Young ’11. Quinnipiac’s Gabe Guerino then homered to right field before Yale retired three batters in a row.
Megee reached first on an error in the bottom of the third, and advanced to third on an error after stealing second, but the team was unable to bring him home before the Bobcats got the requisite two outs.
In the fourth, Greg Lyons ’12 went in to pitch for Castaldi, and the inning passed quickly with each team holding its own.
“Weekday games stress giving practice to pitchers — that was the plan,” Vinny Lally ’11 explained. “Gruber threw the ball really well — and [Eric] Schultz. Lyons, too, did really well, but there were a couple tough weak ground balls and outs that didn’t go our way.”
At the start of the bottom of the fifth, Schropp walked and Megee singled up the middle to start a rally. Danforth reached on a fielder’s choice that forced Megee out at second, and Schropp advanced to third. Danforth was caught stealing second, and Neil and Sweeney walked, filling the bases. Schropp then scored on a wild pitch. Brenner walked, filling the bases again, and Quinnipiac pitcher Andrew Rinaldi was brought up to pitch for Kyle Birdsall. Quinnipiac ended the inning with a strikeout.
“Clutch hitting is important in baseball,” Megee explained. “You can’t get a hit every time, but sometimes you have to hit.”
Lally, recently named Ivy Pitcher of the Week, substituted for Lyons on the mound at the start of the sixth, and after the bases were loaded, Robert Gruber ’10 stepped in to relieve Lally.
“The pitchers after the first inning threw tremendously,” Stefan said. “Its a tribute to the bullpen — they’re doing a great job.”
In the eighth Schultz started on the mound for Yale and held the Bobcats. Yale added another run in the bottom of the inning when infielder Matt Schmidt ’12 doubled to right field, advanced to third and then home on two wild pitches. The inning ended without anyone else getting on base.
With only three outs to rally, Megee stepped to the plate and singled to right field. Danforth struck out swinging, but Neil hit into a double play, leaving the bases cleared and the game over, 5-3.
“They were a solid team. The pitching they sent out wasn’t too great, but they played defense,” Lally added.
The non-conference game was considered preparation for the upcoming weekend full of Ivy play.
“We know we’re two games back. Its early in the season, and just try to not let the teams ahead of us get out of reach,” Schropp explained. “Take three, if not four [of this weekend’s games]. We will continue to pitch really well — three pitchers from last week to start again — and get a few more hits.”
The Bulldogs face Columbia in a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday they play Penn beginning at noon. All four games will take place at Yale Field.