With nine Bulldog pitchers appearing on the mound and three defensive fielding errors, the baseball team’s game against the University of New Haven Wednesday had the makings of a minor catastrophe.
But after seven and a half innings, UNH (10-6-1) was the only team reeling, as the Elis (5-11) soundly defeated the Chargers, 14-2, off the strength of a seven-run second inning fueled by Chris Elkins’ ’03 grand slam.
The pitcher platoon was an intentional plan by head coach John Stuper, who started a new pitcher in each inning in hopes of giving playing time to a number of his younger arms. The Eli skipper went with a nine-man rotation because of his starting pitchers’ successes so far this season.
“You have some guys that you assume were going to play the role of middle relievers, but our starters have gone so deep into the games that they end up not getting the work,” he said. “Today they had to get in game frame and go out and perform, and I was pleased with them.”
In addition, several field players saw increased time in the lineup.
After spotting the Chargers a 1-0 lead in the top of the second in a rain-delayed affair, the Elis responded with force, batting around in their half of the inning. Second baseman Steven Duke ’03 began the offensive tear with a single to center field. After Blake Golom ’04 walked and C.J. Orrico ’05 laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, three consecutive walks led to two runs and loaded the bases.
In past games, the Bulldogs have had trouble hitting with men on base, leaving multiple runners stranded. But Elkins, who boasts a .382 batting average, blasted the ball over the right center field wall for the grand slam.
“Elkins got a huge hit with the grand slam, and it was kind of contagious,” said Duke, who is hitting .339 after a 3-5 performance. “Everyone started hitting the ball after that.”
Catcher Darren Beasley ’03 continued the second-inning onslaught with a single to left field, and then advanced to third base on a throwing error by Charger catcher Andy Schmata. Justin Walters ’03 drove Beasley home to put the Bulldogs ahead 7-1.
An RBI by Yale’s Orrico drove in Golom in the bottom of the third, followed by a home run to left field by Schmata in the top of the fourth, put the score at 8-2, but the Bulldogs offense did not relent.
After reaching first base on a UNH error in the bottom of the fourth, Zac Bradley ’05 stole second and third bases before Beasley sent him home with his eighth RBI of the season for a 9-2 lead.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth inning and three in the sixth to close out the rout.
“We swung our bats and broke out offensively in this game,” said Stuper.
Yale’s defense committed three errors on the day, rare mishaps for the usually flawless Bulldog lineup.
“There were a couple of lapses but our defense will be ready to go come Saturday,” Duke said. “It wasn’t as solid as it usually is, but we’ll be ready.”
Yale will open its Ivy season riding its two-game winning streak when it travels to Columbia for a Saturday doubleheader before heading to Penn Sunday.