BASEBALL | Pitching to a win

Yale came away with another split ticket in a doubleheader Tuesday, this time against Sacred Heart.

The Bulldogs won the first game 5-3 with strong pitching and a solid offensive effort. But in the second game, Sacred Heart fought back to bring the game to a tie, and the Elis — who were unable to muster any additional offense — eventually lost 8-6.

“We jumped on them in the first game. We really came out and took it to them,” outfielder and captain Stefan Schropp ’09 said. “Then in the second we struggled a little, but we continued to move forward. Oftentimes coming off Ivy weekends, it’s easy to overlook the mid-week games, but we all improved.”

Pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 opened at Yale Field with a solid start. The Bulldogs (9-13) scored their first run in the bottom of the second as utility player Charlie Neil ’12 singled to the shortstop. Neil advanced to third as first baseman Chris Sweeney ’11 and outfielder Andrew Kolmar ’11 grounded out. Infielder Matt Schmidt ’12 then singled through the left side and sent him home.

In the fourth, Yale added two more runs to the board with a double by Sweeney to right and a single by Kolmar up the middle. Catcher Davis Stanley ’09 grounded out for the first RBI, and Schropp singled down the left field line for the second RBI. The Bulldogs scored two more runs in the fifth inning, and took a 5-0 lead over the Pioneers (10-16-1). Lally, through the seventh inning, held Sacred Heart to two hits.

“Lally picked up the ‘W’ and bounced back from a couple of bad outings he’s had recently,” Schropp said. “He’s an individual example of what this team’s been doing — focusing on the next task and not getting hung up on the past. He did a good job for us.”

Unable to die quietly, the feisty Sacred Heart team made a three-run rally in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded, Robert Griffith reached on a fielder’s choice and brought in the first Pioneer run of the day. When the unearned run came in, Eric Shultz ’12 took the mound for the Elis and guided the team out of the inning while only allowing two additional runs to come in, thus preserving the victory.

“We did well with timely hitting,” Lally explained. “We scored runs when we needed to and we didn’t leave many people on bases.”

The second game, an 8-6 loss, remained scoreless until the bottom of the third when Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 homered over the left field fence and earned two RBI.

“They’re a great hitting team – they hit the ball really hard,” Schmidt said. “Our pitchers pitched great today. We just had a few missed cues.”

Pitcher Pat Ludwig ’12 held Sacred Heart scoreless until the fifth when, in a runaway inning, the Pioneers scored five runs. With the bases loaded and one run already in, the Bulldogs brought out Robert Gruber ’10 from the bullpen. Four runs later, Joe Castaldi ’10 came in to close the game.

“Pat did a great job — especially for a freshman making his first career start,” Schropp said. “He threw strikes all day and when he got in trouble, it wasn’t because he was throwing balls.”

Danforth began an Eli rally in the sixth with a single to left center. Andrew Moore ’11 was hit by a pitch, and Sacred Heart replaced their starting pitcher with M.J. Schifano. Kolmar answered the pitching change with a single to the shortstop, Sweeney grounded out but got the RBI, and Schmidt followed with another single for two RBI, thereby finishing the three-run inning.

Yale earned another run in the seventh, but left three on base at the end of the inning, leaving the game tied. An eighth inning — an anomaly in mid-week series — was then played to determine the winner, and Sacred Heart managed to score two runs that were left unanswered when the Bulldogs reached the plate.

“They were a pretty strong team — a lot better this year than they were in the past,” Lally said. “They were a very aggressive team. They didn’t give us any runs.”

This coming weekend, the Elis will travel to Cambridge, Mass., for dual doubleheaders against Harvard. The intra-division Ivy play against the Crimson begins at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Comments