BASEBALL | Elis cannot pioneer a comeback

After surrendering three runs in the first inning, Yale’s pitchers combined to hold sacred Heart to two hits and no runs over seven innings.
After surrendering three runs in the first inning, Yale’s pitchers combined to hold sacred Heart to two hits and no runs over seven innings. Photo by Graham Harboe.

After the Yale baseball team came from behind late in the game in two wins against Harvard last weekend, another Bulldog comeback fell just short against Sacred Heart Wednesday afternoon in Bridgeport, Conn.

After scoring three runs on three hits without making an out off right-hander Chris Lanham ’16 in the bottom of the first inning, the Pioneers (15–16, 11–5 Northeast) hung on for a 3–2 victory over the Yale baseball team (8–22, 5–7 Ivy) at Harbor Yard. Catcher and captain Chris Piwinski ’13 accepted the blame for the slow start.

“That first inning was kind of on me with pitch-calling,” Piwinski said. “Guys aren’t sitting on [Lanham’s] pitches if I call better pitches.”

After senior designated hitter Rocco Gondek gave Sacred Heart an early lead with a three-run double to left in the first, the Pioneers were held scoreless on just two hits the rest of the way. Lanham settled down after Gondek’s two-bagger to set down the next nine batters he faced — three on strikes.

The rest of Yale’s pitching staff would continue Lanham’s success, with five pitchers combining to shut out the Sacred Heart lineup and surrender just two hits over the final seven frames.

“Pitching the past two weeks has been awesome,” designated hitter Joe Lubanski ’15 said. “So I wasn’t even surprised. Our coach even said after they got the three runs that they aren’t going to get any more.”

The Elis got a run back in the top of the third. Centerfielder Cameron Squires ’13 led off the inning with a double and came around to score on a groundout by shortstop Tom O’Neill ’16 after Piwinski had moved Squires over to third with a slow roller down the third baseline.

The score stayed stuck at 3–1 until two outs in the top of the eighth. Leftfielder Eric Hsieh ’15 was hit by a pitch to start the rally and advanced to second when Gondek, now pitching, plunked first baseman Jacob Hunter ’14. Lubanski then drove a single to right field to score Hsieh and pull Yale within one. But third baseman Brent Lawson ’16 flew out to center to end the rally, and Yale could not plate a run in the ninth off of freshman reliever Jesus Medina. Hsieh said that the Elis needed to do a better job of driving the ball against the Pioneer pitching staff.

“When we get ahead in the count, we just need to put better swings on the ball,” Hsieh said. “We had the opportunities with runners on base, we just put bad swings on the ball.”

Yale tallied just three hits in the game and left seven runners on base Wednesday.

The Elis return home this weekend for a four-game series with Dartmouth (22–6, 8–4 Ivy). The Big Green are three games ahead of Yale for first place in the Red Rolfe Division of the Ivy League.

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