Harvard’s good pitching and Yale’s bad timing resulted in a 1-3 weekend for the baseball team.
In doubleheaders April 18 and 19 at O’Donnell Field in Cambridge, Mass., the Elis (13-18, 4-8 Ivy) could not combine hitting and pitching consistently against the Crimson (12-17, 6-6), who took sole possession of first place in the Red Rolfe Division. Yale is tied for third with Brown University (11-23, 4-8).
“We played hard, we fought for everything we got, but we couldn’t quite come up with the victories,” Chris Elkins ’03 said.
The Bulldogs’ pitching staff struggled all weekend, surrendering 34 runs over four games.
“It wasn’t exactly what we were expecting going in,” Mike Elias ’05 (3-3) said. “We made some bad pitches here and there and they got big hits off of them.”
The bright spot in the rotation was John Hollis’ ’06 (0-3) performance in game two on Friday, a 9-8 thriller in extra innings which was Yale’s only win of the series.
Hollis pitched seven innings, scattering seven hits and five earned runs and left the rest up to third-basemen Mike Gulker ’05.
Gulker got Yale off to a good start, going 3-5 in the game with two doubles, three RBIs — all coming in the first three innings — and two runs scored. He went 9-15 over the weekend.
“He’s on fire,” Elkins said. “Everything you throw to him he hits and he hits it hard.”
With the game tied 5-5 in the eighth, Yale added two runs off of Josh Zabar’s ’06 fielders’ choice and C.J. Orrico’s ’04 sacrifice fly.
Alec Smith ’06 (3-1) replaced Hollis on the mound in the eighth, surrendering runs in the Cantabs’ last two at bats to force the game into extra innings. The Crimson nearly won the game in the ninth, but Gulker threw out Bryan Hale at home on a ground ball to third to end the threat.
In the 11th, the Bulldogs took the lead on runs from Randy Leonard ’04 and Mike Hirschfield ’03.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Crimson got within one on a Lance Salsgiver single, but Smith got the last two outs to secure the victory.
The Elis struggled against Harvard pitching the rest of the weekend.
Cantab starters Matt Brunnig (3-1), Mike Morgalis (2-2), and Kenon Ronz (2-2) combined for 22 innings pitched and six earned runs allowed. Ronz was especially dominant in game two’s 11-1 victory on Saturday, pitching nine innings with 14 strikeouts.
Ronz’s pitching coincided with sloppy play in the field for Yale.
The Elis made four errors in the game, struggling on defense in the weekend’s finale, as they did against Columbia (16-21, 6-8 Ivy), a week earlier, when they committed six errors.
Yale opened the quartet of games with a 7-2 loss.
Josh Sowers (4-2) took the loss, giving up seven earned runs in six innings of work.
Darren Beasley ’03 had both of Yale’s RBIs.
In game three, despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Gulker’s 2 RBI double in the first, the Elis could not keep the Crimson off the board. Harvard answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning.
The Cantabs added four more runs in the second to give themselves a five-run cushion, and the Bulldogs never got within striking distance.
“Our pitchers have to turn in better performances,” said Elias, who struggled in the game.
Yale needs to get back to combining hitting, pitching, and defense as well as having fun out in the field, Elkins said.
The Elis hope to rebound against Fairfield University (6-21-1) April 23 at Yale Field.