The rain in New Haven did not keep the baseball team from its Ivy opener this weekend. The Elis traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday and New York on Sunday, splitting double-headers with both the Quakers and the Lions. Yale (7-12, 2-2 Ivy) lost the first game against Penn (6-14, 2-4) 1-0, but won the late game 12-3. At Columbia (7-13, 5-3), the Bulldogs won the early game 4-2 but fell 11-7 in the nightcap.

“We weren’t satisfied with going 2-2,” catcher Eric Rasmussen ’06 said. “But we played well, so we can be happy with that.”

The two games played down in Philadelphia were markedly different contests. The first game of the double-header was a pitchers’ duel, pitting Eli Josh Sowers ’05 against Penn’s Josh Appell.

Through five and a half innings, Sowers had pitched a four-hit, one-walk game with no runs allowed. But the top of the sixth was fatal for the Bulldogs, as the Quakers scored the deciding run with two outs.

Yale threatened late in the game, but ended up leaving a total of eight runners on base over the last four innings. Appell escaped unscathed, with a two-hit, seven-walk, four-strikeout complete game shutout to his name.

“We just couldn’t get a run on board,” captain Randy Leonard ’04 said. “It was just a pitcher’s duel type of game.”

The nightcap was a hitter’s game — the two teams combined for 28 hits, versus only nine in the early game. The Elis drew first blood in the first inning when Marc Sawyer ’07 singled and then scored on an error.

The game was still relatively close until the fifth inning, when Yale scored three runs off of a double from designated hitter John Janco ’06 and singles from right fielder Jake Doyle ’07, Rasmussen and shortstop Chris Esper ’06. Janco and Doyle had particularly strong performances overall, going four for six with an RBI and four for five with five RBIs, respectively.

“I’ve been hitting the ball well my last couple of games,” Doyle said. “I just stayed with my approach.”

Cementing the Eli win was the pitching of Jon Hollis ’06, who allowed five runs and one earned run in seven innings in his first start of the year to earn the win. Colin Ward-Henniger provided relief in the eighth and despite some trouble early in the ninth, finished off the Quakers by striking out three looking and forcing three fly-outs in the eighth and ninth.

The same pattern appeared in Sunday’s double-header against Columbia — a low-scoring day game and a high-scoring nightcap. The first inning of the early match-up saw most of the hitting in the first inning.

In the top of the first, Yale scored four runs, led by the two-RBI performance of Doyle. The Lions put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first.

But that was all the scoring that would happen in that game. Yale starter Alec Smith ’06 allowed only one other hit in his complete game performance en route to a 4-2 Eli victory.

“I had trouble in the first inning — I got the ball up a little bit,” Smith said. “But I settled down after that, made my pitches and let the defense take care of things.”

The late game was the only deviation from a weekend with generally strong Eli pitching. In starting for the Bulldogs, Mike Mongiardini ’07 allowed five runs and could not produce an out.

He was replaced by Chris Winkler ’07, who pitched for almost nine innings, and was relieved for the last third of an inning by Doug Shimokawa ’04.

The Elis rallied after the early deficit, including a five-run third inning.

But the Lions could not be caught, and the Bulldogs fell by the final tally of 11-7.

“We just didn’t come out with the same energy that we had in the first game,” Doyle said. “We battled back, but it wasn’t enough.”

Several Bulldogs said the chief problem this weekend, and the one thing that the team would like to concentrate on the most, is uneven performance in various facets of the game.

“We have to bring every aspect of the game to every game,” Leonard said. “It’s a matter of putting it all together — hitting, defense, pitching — all in one game. Then we’ll be set.”

The Elis next face Iona at home on Wednesday.

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