Two big innings proved to be the Yale baseball team’s downfall yesterday, as the Bulldogs lost both ends of a doubleheader against Fairfield, 6–2 and 10–5.
The Elis (12–15, 5–3 Ivy) were resting their top five pitchers to keep them fresh for this weekend’s upcoming four-game series against Ivy League foe and chief Red Rolfe division rival Dartmouth.
“Our four starters, along with Chris Moates ’16, were not going to pitch no matter what,” centerfielder Green Campbell ’15 said. “We’re saving them up because this is probably our biggest weekend of the entire year.”
Game one of the doubleheader soured early on when starting pitcher Nate O’Leary ’15, making his first start of both the season and of his Yale career, yielded a three-run shot to left field in the second inning after allowing a single and hitting a batter with a pitch.
A two-out RBI single in the fourth from Brian Murphy scored Rob LoPinto, who hurt the Bulldogs last year with what proved to be a game-winning homer on his birthday, to extend the Fairfield lead to 4–0. It was not until the bottom half of the inning that Yale could answer back. After third baseman Richard Slenker ’17 singled to start the frame and designated hitter Kevin Fortunato ’14 reached on a fielder’s choice, Campbell poked one over the fence in right field for a two-run dinger.
“We were down a little bit, but we knew we had a good shot,” Campbell said. “I just wanted to put a good swing on the ball. I had a 2–0 count, he left a fastball over the middle-outside half of the plate, I put a good short swing on it, and it went out.”
Unfortunately for the Elis, those two runs were all they would muster, and the Stags plated a pair in the sixth inning to make the final score 6–2.
Game two saw another first career start for the Bulldogs, as Campbell made his starting debut on the mound. Campbell, who said that he had never started a game in high school either, threw four innings — allowing two runs on four hits while striking out five.
“He looked composed. He looked like he’d been doing it his whole life,” captain Cale Hanson ’14 said. “I was very impressed with him on the mound. It was a good day to be Green Campbell.”
Fairfield (14–13, 6–2 MAAC) got on the board first in the second game, too, stringing together a walk and a couple of singles to score its leadoff man. But the Bulldogs struck back when Hanson doubled in the gap and eventually came around to score when the Stags’ third baseman misplayed a deep grounder off the bat of Campbell.
In the bottom of the second inning, Yale loaded the bases without any outs following a single, a walk and a hit batter. The Bulldogs capitalized immediately, when right fielder Derek Brown ’17 launched the payoff pitch into left-center for a two-run double. Following a sacrifice fly from catcher Andrew Herrera ’17, the Elis found themselves with a three-run lead.
Things unraveled in the fifth inning, however, after Campbell was removed from the game. Relief pitcher Eric Hsieh ’15 walked a pair of batters — with a single sandwiched between the two — before being pulled after having pitched just one-third of an inning. Robert Baldwin ’15, making just his second appearance all season, allowed a sac fly and then let five straight Stags reach base. By the time he left the mound, Fairfield led 7–4, and a soft two-run single extended the Stags’ lead to five runs.
Though Yale added one run in the bottom half of the inning, the Bulldogs never got much going after that, and Fairfield added another tally in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to 10–5.
In each game, the Stags outscored the Elis thanks to one big inning — the second inning in game one and the fifth frame of the nightcap.
“It definitely hurts [team morale], especially in a seven-inning game,” Hanson said of allowing big innings.
Yale travels to Hanover, N.H., this weekend to play Dartmouth in a four-game series.