After the baseball team struggled to three straight losses this weekend, left-hander David Hickey ’14 put the Elis back on their feet with a complete game shutout against Penn on Sunday.
Despite strong pitching, the Bulldogs lost both games to Columbia on Saturday before splitting a pair against a strong Penn squad on Sunday. The offense scuffled all weekend, managing only six runs over the four contests.
Coming into the weekend on a three-game winning streak and in the mix for a playoff spot in the Ivy League’s Rolfe Division, the Bulldogs (6–18, 3–5) faced a pair of tough teams in the Lions (13–15, 6–2 Ivy) and the Quakers (18-11, 5-3 Ivy).
Yale dropped the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in heartbreaking fashion. Left-handed pitcher Rob Cerfolio ’14 shut out Columbia through six innings of the seven-inning contest — the first game of college doubleheaders only last seven innings — but gave up a pinch-hit home run to Joey Falcone in the top of the seventh to tie the score at one. Columbia took the lead later in the inning when catcher Mike Fischer scored an unearned run on a double from the Lions’ Eric Williams. Columbia’s Alex Black then struck out the side in the Yale half of the seventh to nail down the save.
“I think we lost [the game] because we didn’t score runners when we had a good chance,” captain Chris Piwinksi ’13 said. “That game was a little frustrating. You have to be a tough out, and there were too many times when we weren’t tough outs this weekend.”
Yale scored its run in the third inning, stringing together a walk, a sacrifice bunt from freshman shortstop Thomas O’Neill, and an RBI single from Piwinski to take a 1–0 lead.
The Bulldogs relied heavily on the sacrifice bunt over the weekend to produce runs and bunted four times in the first game on Saturday.
“Small ball is an integral part of our offense because it gives us the opportunity to score even if we’re facing a tough pitcher,” O’Neill said.
Yale dropped the second game to Columbia 5–2. Pitcher Michael Coleman took the loss, giving up four runs, three earned, in 6.1 innings. The Bulldogs’ defense was shaky all weekend, committing two errors in each of the first three games, bringing their total to 43 in 24 games this season.
“You don’t want to see that, but I can honestly say I’m 100 percent confident that guys are going to come back defensively,” Piwinski said.
Saturday’s doubleheader was followed by a 5–1 loss to Penn in the first game on Sunday, with Chris Moates ’16 on the losing end after surrendering five runs, one earned, in six innings. But the Bulldogs salvaged a split on the strength of a dominant performance from Hickey. The left-handed junior fired a complete-game shutout, surrendering only four hits without a walk while whiffing eleven Quakers in Yale’s 1-0 victory.
“I don’t want to say one more thing about that game except David Hickey,” said Piwinski, who was behind the plate for the shutout. “His slider was unbelievable. He built confidence throughout the whole game.” The Bulldogs scored their lone run on a double from Brent Lawson in the second, and that was all Hickey needed.
Performances like Hickey’s and Cerfolio’s give the team a reason to be excited.
“If we can pitch it like that for the rest of the way, the bats will pick up and we’ll win some games,” designated hitter Josh Scharff ’14.
The Bulldogs are currently tied with Harvard for second in the Rolfe division, one game behind Dartmouth and within reach of the playoffs.
Sophomore outfielder Green Campbell left the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with an ankle injury. Green had reached base safely in six consecutive games going into this weekend.