BASEBALL | Two homers not enough

Despite leading through the seventh inning, the baseball team fell to Hartford on Thursday.

In a tragic twist, Yale (12-20, 6-10 Ivy) lost 6-5 in the 12-inning game played at Hartford (9-21). Despite a strong offensive battle that included two Bulldog home runs, Hartford won the game in the 12th inning with an unearned run.

“It was rough,” captain Stefan Schropp ’09 said. “It was a long game — we did a good job. There were just a couple of missed defensive cues in the ninth and that did it.”

The game was locked 0-0 until the fourth, when Yale scored its first run. Center fielder Andy Megee ’11 tripled to right field, and first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 followed with a double for the RBI.

“Hartford had very solid pitching, but I would not say they were up to the level of Ivy League pitching,” second baseman Zach Tobolowsky ’12 said. “They threw a lot of strikes, though, and that is always going to keep you in the game.”

The fifth brought more Yale runs as second baseman Gant Elmore ’11 doubled to advance catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 home. Outfielder Schropp then followed with a single to center for the second RBI. The inning ended with Yale up, 3-0.

With the Elis on a rally, the sixth was another two-inning game for the Bulldogs. Designated hitter Chris Sweeney ’10 singled, and right fielder Andrew Kolmar ’11 hit a home run to center field for the two RBI.

“We have been hitting the ball well,” Schropp said. “Up and down the line, we’re producing right now. Its just hasn’t been quite enough.”

Hartford began to fight back in the bottom of the sixth. The Hawks scored two runs, and ended the inning down, 5-2.

Tobolowsky started off the seventh with a home run for the Bulldogs, but Hartford quickly shut down the rest of the lineup and went on to score three more of their own.

“The runs we gave away to get to 6-5 were more important than the one in the ninth,” Schropp said.

The eighth was scoreless, but in the bottom of the ninth the Hawks came back to tie the score, thus forcing the game into extra innings.

The 10th and 11th innings passed without any change in score as the two teams held a fierce gridlock.

In the bottom of the 12th inning, Hartford’s Andy Drexel walked, and then scored on a fielding error at third base. The game ended 6-5 Hartford.

“I think we gave them that game. The game today was pretty brutal, but we should have won,” Megee said.

In their last weekend of regular-season play, the Bulldogs will welcome Brown to Yale Field for a doubleheader on Saturday, and travel to Providence, R.I., on Sunday for a second twin bill against the Bears (19-16-1, 12-4 Ivy).

“Brown is actually a big series for us,” Tobolowsky said. “We have had an up-and-down season and this is our chance to end the season on a high note by playing how we are capable of. Taking this series will also give us momentum going into next fall.”

The Elis are coming off a tough weekend in which they went 1-3 against Dartmouth in a series of offense-dominated games. Danforth, Megee and Schropp continue to lead the Eli lineup with .351, .344 and .319 batting averages, respectively.

Danforth has hit six home runs and has a .570 slugging percentage, and Megee leads the order with 43 hits in 125 at bats. Lead-off batter Schropp has a .420 on base percentage and has crossed the plate 21 times.

On the mound, the team is most likely to pitch Brandon Josselyn ’09 and Joe Castaldi ’10. Eric Shultz ’12, Robert Gruber ’10, Pat Ludwig ’12 and Vinny Lally ’11 may provides support out of the bullpen.

Brown is currently ranked second in the Rolfe Division of the Ivy League. The team swept Harvard last weekend (Yale went 1-3 against Harvard), and is sitting only two games behind Dartmouth.

Mark Gormley, a pitcher for the Bears, was named Ivy League Pitcher of the Week for leading Brown to its 6-1 record last week. The sophomore has a 1.12 ERA and gave up only one run in his eight innings against Harvard.

Brown’s lineup is one of the strongest in the league, with a collection of power-hitters who have slugged 40 home runs in all. They have a collective .303 batting average, and three of their players have hit eight home runs each.

“They’re hot on the heels of Dartmouth,” Schropp said. “They’re coming in to get a shot in the league, and we’re facing a very motivated and very good team.”

Play starts on Saturday and Sunday at noon.

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