The hopes of an Ancient Eight crown may be fading.
The baseball team (15–12, 4–4 Ivy) split both of its doubleheaders this weekend, putting itself two games behind first-place Dartmouth (17–6, 6–2), which has won its last five games. Yale dropped a marathon 10-inning first game against Penn (15–12, 6–2), 0–2, and bounced back with a 13–6 win in the afternoon. The Elis continued that form with a 6–3 win over Columbia (12–15, 3–5), but were unable to control the Lions in the second game, losing 1–8.
“It was tough,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said. “We easily could have won all four. But they just didn’t go our way.”
Coming into the weekend, Penn was riding the confidence of a 4–0 start to Ivy play. Both teams were solid at the mound; neither allowed a run until Yale finally conceded two runs in the tenth.
The Bulldogs, who have had a hot and cold performance at the plate this season, saw struggles from its top hitters, including big hitter Cale Hanson ’14, who went hitless in his three at bats.
“Penn’s pitcher was one of the better ones we have faced this year,” Hanson said. “He did a good job of keeping us off balance.”
Pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 started the first game on the mound and led Yale through the first nine scoreless innings. In the process, he allowed only four hits and struck out seven Quakers.
The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities. But their inability to score can be credited to the strong Penn defense, which refused to concede a run.
One of the best chances for the Elis to steal the win came in the eighth inning. Gant Elmore ’11 was tagged out at home as he tried to score from second base off a Kevin Fortunato ’14 single to left field.
The second game was a different story. The Yale offense erupted and never let up as the game progressed.
The Bulldogs scored five runs in the first inning alone. They then added two more runs in both the third and fourth innings. Another four runs in the next two innings in essence sealed the victory for the Elis, ending the Quaker’s five game winning streak.
Penn made a run late in the game, but was unable to find the momentum that had helped it defeat its previous Ivy opponents. After the loss, the team fell to 5–1 in conference play.
“The weekend was pretty disappointing,” Lally said. “A split doesn’t cut it.”
On Sunday, Yale continued its strong hitting to defeat Columbia 6–3. The Elis got off to another quick start in the game, scoring three runs in the second inning.
The duo of Jacob Hunter ’14 and Trey Rallis ’11 played a key role in the six total runs scored by the Bulldogs, combining for four hits and four runs.
Fortunato earned his first save of the year as he closed out the game on the mound and allowed only one run in 2.2 innings pitched.
“We have a great defense and [the team] took care of me,” Fortunato said.
The Lions tried to spark a comeback late in the game and succeeded in scoring three runs in the fifth and sixth innings. But they were unable to score again and finally lost, 6–3.
The second game was notably different for the Bulldogs who struggled to score runs and keep the Lions off the board.
Brook Hart ’11, who celebrated his 22nd birthday Sunday, came into the weekend with a 1.95 ERA through 32.1 innings pitched but struggled at the mound and allowed 10 hits and five runs.
“I think it just came down to executing when the opportunity is there,” Hart said.
Hanson scored the lone run for the Bulldogs in the sixth inning, but Yale was unable to rally behind the effort, falling to the Lions, 8–1.
The team will face UConn on Tuesday and Fairfield University on Wednesday before returning to Ivy play with four games against Dartmouth this weekend.
“It’s going to come down to next weekend against Dartmouth,” Lally said. “We’re still in control of our own destiny.”