Winning baseball games is about pitching, hitting and fielding. The Bulldogs have proven that they can do all three well, but not always on the same day.
In its last game before the start of the Ivy League season, the baseball team (4-7) failed to muster enough offense in dropping a 5-3 decision to a solid Marist (11-6-1) squad Wednesday afternoon in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Red Fox pitcher Ryan Kondratowicz had the Elis’ number, scattering five hits over seven innings, allowing only two runs, one unearned, while striking out eight.
“Their pitchers got ahead in the count and were able to dictate most of the at-bats,” captain R.D. DeSantis ’01 said. DeSantis, the team leader in batting average, went one for four, striking out once.
In silencing the Bulldog’s bats, Kondratowicz achieved a feat few pitchers have been able to do this season. Opposing pitchers have held the Elis to less than five runs in only two of their 11 games.
“It is just a fact of baseball that you are not going to get 10 hits a game,” starting pitcher Craig Breslow ’02 said. “It is not too much to ask for our defense and pitching to pick up the hitters once in a while.”
To their credit, the Yale pitchers never allowed the Marist lineup to cash in on a big inning, but the Red Foxes were able to grab runs here and there on their way to victory.
Marist grabbed its first lead of the game, 3-2, in the bottom of the fourth inning, when first baseman Jimmy Willis sent a pitch from reliever Doug Feller ’02 over the left field fence for the solo shot. The Red Foxes added insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
Yale took an early lead in the first inning, 1-0, when center fielder Chris Elkins ’03 scored on a Red Fox fielding error. Marist miscues in the field led to all three Eli runs, all of which were scored by Elkins.
When it mattered, though, the Red Foxes made the big plays in the field to hold the Bulldogs at bay.
“We swung at a lot of bad pitches early in the game,” Elkins said. “When we settled down, they came up with the big defensive play to get out of the inning without us scoring.”
Defensive play has been an issue for the Bulldogs, but they continued to make progress on that front against Marist. The Elis’ only error — a throwing error by Elkins in the fifth that resulted in a Red Fox run — was only their fourth in their last four contests. The Bulldogs committed 21 gaffes in their first seven games.
The defensive improvement could not be coming at a better time for the team, which will open the Ivy League portion of its schedule this Saturday with a doubleheader at reigning conference champion Princeton (4-12).
“The main thing we need to do [in Ivy League play] is just put everything together,” DeSantis said. “We have shown the ability to hit, pitch and field, but have not always done all three at the same time.”
After the two Princeton contests Saturday, the Bulldogs will return home Sunday for a doubleheader against Cornell (4-5) at Yale Field at noon.