BASEBALL | Bulldogs split City Series

The baseball team faced two local opponents at the City Series tournament this weekend.
The baseball team faced two local opponents at the City Series tournament this weekend. Photo by Adlon Adams.

Yale baseball took the field this weekend against cross-town rivals University of New Haven and Southern Connecticut in the City Series tournament held at Yale Field. The team fell to New Haven 2–0 on Friday night despite a strong pitching effort by David Hickey ’14. But the Bulldogs rebounded from the opening night loss with a 4–2 win over Southern on Saturday to cap off its fall season.

The series opener featured a pitching duel between Hickey and a talented staff from New Haven. The left-hander for the Bulldogs pitched 7.1 innings, scattering seven hits for two earned runs and posting an impressive 13 strikeouts.

“My slider was working really well all night,” Hickey said. “I think my ability to throw it for a first-pitch strike allowed me to immediately get ahead of the batter in the count.”

But Hickey ran into trouble in the New Haven half of the eighth inning on Friday. After giving up a solo shot to shortstop Nick Nunziato to lead things off, Hickey let up another single and recorded one out before Ben Joseph ’15 came on in relief.

Joseph allowed one run to score on an RBI single but got two strikeouts to end the inning. Joseph completed 1.2 innings of scoreless work, allowing only one hit and striking out four.

Despite holding New Haven to only two runs and racking up a combined 17 strikeouts, Hickey and Joseph’s combined efforts weren’t enough for the Elis. Five different New Haven pitchers kept Yale scoreless and the visitors held on for the 2–0 win.

“Our pitching staff has always been strong and seeing David [Hickey] and Ben [Joseph] perform well shows that we can really depend on them once the spring season rolls around,” outfielder Cam Squires ’13 said.

Squires led the offensive effort with a two-hit performance including a double, Yale’s only extra-base hit of the night. Yale scattered four more hits, including a single to right by newcomer Tom O’Neill ’16 in the bottom of the ninth. Cale Hanson ’14, Kevin Fortunato ’14 and David Toups ’15 also had hits for the Elis.

The Bulldogs came back from their Friday night loss in a 4–2 win over Southern Connecticut the next day on the strength of a solid outing from pitcher Rob Cerfolio ’14. The left-hander allowed one run on seven hits over seven innings and Chris Lanham ’16 got the save for the Bulldogs, throwing two innings of one run, one hit baseball and striking out two.

The Bulldog offense was led by designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13, who had two RBI and two hits on the day.

“When I was little, my hitting coach would always tell me, ‘Keep it simple, stupid.’ I always try to keep that approach, get a good pitch and put a nice, simple swing on it,” Scharff said. “I was lucky enough to be able to come up with two hits for Robby [Cerfolio] and the guys, and we got a big W to gain a little confidence heading into the offseason.”

Yale struck first when Fortunato scored on a Scharff double in the home half of the second. Southern answered back with a run in the top of the third, but was then held scoreless until the ninth inning. Yale scored again on a Scharff single that chased home Toups in the fourth.

Toups also picked up an RBI when he walked with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Fortunato knocked in the fourth and final run for the Elis with a fielder’s choice RBI.

Walks and poor pitch control plagued the Southern staff, who gave up five walks, one wild pitch and one hit batsman.

The 1–1 finish in the City Series marked the end of the fall season for the Bulldogs.

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