The baseball team’s offense exploded yesterday afternoon, pounding Fairfield University’s pitchers for 16 hits and 13 runs en route to a 13-6 victory at Yale Field.
The Elis’ (14-18, 4-8 Ivy) good hitting and the Stags’ (22-11-1) poor defense contributed to Yale’s largest run output of the season. Seven Bulldog pitchers took the mound, with Josh Sowers ’05 (6-2) picking up his team-leading sixth win.
All-Ivy center fielder Chris Elkins ’03 and leadoff man Randy Leonard ’04 powered the Bulldog offense, combining for four hits, five RBIs and four runs scored. Shortstop Mike Hirschfield ’03 went 4-5 on the day.
“We swung hard and it worked out for us,” said Elkins, who leads the Bulldogs with 22 RBIs. “We hit unbelievable.”
Moving into the cleanup spot, Mike Gulker ’05, named Ivy League Player of the Week on April 15 after batting .556 over a five-game span, helped power the Elis’ offense, going 3-5 with one run and one RBI.
Gulker entered the game second on the team batting .340.
“Everyone on the team has seen that [Gulker] has the potential,” Elkins said. “It’s amazing.”
Bulldog hurlers gave up a combined six runs on 10 hits.
“[When pitching] you need to have a feel for what you’re doing, and pitching midweek is a good way to stay sharp,” said Doug Shimokawa ’04 (1-2), who started the game, pitching two innings and surrendering one run.
Coming off an 11-1 loss to Harvard (13-17, 6-6 Ivy) on Sunday, a game in which Yale made four errors, the Elis reaped the benefits of the Stags’ miscues from the start. Fairfield committed four errors in the game.
In the bottom of the first, Leonard got on base on an error by Fairfield starter Tim Dugan (1-3), advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then got to third on a passed ball.
One batter later, Elkins drove Leonard in with a base hit, reached second on an error by Fairfield center fielder Greg Batista, and scored on an error by shortstop Doug Anderson.
Next up, Gulker doubled to left center, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a wild pitch, Dugan’s third of the inning.
While the Stags struggled in the field, Yale only made one error in the game and did a good job combining pitching, hitting and defense, Elkins said.
The Elis could not hold on to the lead, however. Fairfield scored once in the second on a SAC fly and tied the game on Batista’s two-run homer in the third.
With the game tied at 5 in the bottom of the sixth, Yale’s offense gave its pitchers all the run support they needed.
Leonard led the charge with a three-RBI double and Elkins drove him in with a SAC fly to take a 9-5 lead.
“We’ve always known that our team can give us a lot of runs, but obviously to see it happen is great,” Shimokawa said.
Josh Zabar ’06 hit a two-run homer in the seventh, his team-leading third of the season, to give the Bulldogs an 11-5 lead, and Yale got three more runs on four hits in the eighth to put the game away.
“[The win] was very important so that we [could] get some momentum,” Shimokawa said. “It’s a big weekend for us. We need to do well this weekend to still be in it.”
The Elis next host Red Rolfe Division rival Dartmouth (12-15, 5-7 Ivy) April 26 and 27. The Big Green fell to Holy Cross yesterday 9-7 in Worcester, Mass. The contests are crucial for the Bulldogs if they want to have any hope of winning the division.