In the final games of their spring-break trip down to the Carolinas and Virginia, the Bulldogs (6-13, 0-0 Ivy) were only able to capture the opening game of the three-game series from Radford (11-9).
After a one-run win to open the series on Friday, the baseball team found itself the victim of two one-run losses on Saturday at the hands of the Highlanders.
Game one’s victory required an impressive comeback highlighted by clutch hitting in the eighth inning. Down 7-4 going into the top of the eighth inning, Yale struck with four runs to take the lead.
After scoring a run, the Bulldogs loaded the bases for catcher Ryan Lavarnway ’09, who continued his torrid start to the season and came through with a two-run single. Jake Doyle ’08 then singled in a run to put the Bulldogs up for good, 8-7.
Brandon Josselyn ’09 (1-2, 4.84 ERA) got the start and went six innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits. The Hanson, Mass., native struck out three and walked two.
Chris Walsh ’10 (1-2, 9.22) retired the side in order in the bottom half of the eighth, and captain Steve Gilman ’08 (0-0, 0.00) shut the door on the Highlanders in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
“The comeback definitely helped us come together as a team a lot,” pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 (1-1, 9.22) said. “That late in the trip, to come back from a three-run deficit gave us momentum going into the last day of the trip.”
But the next two games did not quite bring the same fortune for the Bulldogs.
Game two was a pitching duel between starters Brian Irving ’08 (1-2, 4.50) and Adam Hoyt (3-1, 2.43).
Yale got on the board first with a P.J. Gorynski ’08 RBI double in the third inning. But that was all the Elis could muster in the game’s seven innings.
The Highlanders were able to bring two runs across, one in the fifth and the other in the sixth, to win the low-scoring affair, 2-1.
Irving pitched 5.2 innings and gave up just the two runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking two, but he was outdueled by Hoyt. The sophomore southpaw went six innings and gave up the lone run on four hits, striking out four and walking three.
“It really wasn’t that frustrating [to lose],” Irving said. “I don’t think we played badly; they just played better and we lost.”
It seemed as if the two clubs saved their offense for the afternoon portion of Saturday’s twin bill, but once again Radford bested the Bulldogs by a lone run, 13-12.
But even with all the offense, defense provided the edge. Yale committed four errors, while Radford played solid defense without any.
Each team scored seven runs in the third frame and five in the fifth, the difference being a Radford run in the fourth.
Yale got off to a 7-0 lead behind RBI singles by Josh Cox ’08, Lavarnway, Doyle and Stefan Schropp ’09. Radford starter Kyle Starr (2-1, 5.32) was then relieved by Cassidy McDaniel (0-1, 7.13), who proceeded to give up a three-run home run to Andy Megee ’11. It was the freshman’s first career homer.
“It was pretty exciting, but it was disappointing because we lost,” Megee said. “It was frustrating because I thought we were the better team. We just need to put everything together on a consistent basis.”
Chris Finneran ’10 (0-2, 7.16) got the start for the Elis off of only three days’ rest; he was relieved after two innings of no-hit ball. Alex Christ ’08 (1-1, 10.80) relieved Finneran and then gave up an RBI single to Tyren Rivers and a three-run double to Nate Toth before exiting after getting just two outs.
Matthew Smith ’10 (0-0, 3.55) couldn’t stop the bleeding, letting up a three-run home run to Jonathan Spears to tie the game at seven before finally recording the last out of the third.
Radford squeezed out a run in the fourth with a single, a costly Gorynski error at second, a fielder’s choice and heads-up play. After Alex Gregory beat out a double-play ball at first, Rivers came around to score from second while Yale was busy arguing the close call.
The Elis put five on the board in the fifth with just one hit, a two-run single off the bat of Doyle. Highlander pitching did the rest of the work, walking five and throwing two wild pitches.
Radford then opened the fifth with three consecutive singles, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. The ultimate blow came off Raphael Turner’s bat. The sophomore outfielder knocked a triple to right that drove in two runs. A Toth single to center knocked Turner in and gave Radford what proved to be an insurmountable 13-12 lead.
Yale had some chances down the stretch, including a loaded-bases situation in the sixth, but was unable to capitalize on its opportunities.
In all, the two sides combined for 28 hits, 12 walks, 19 left on base and 13 pitchers used.
The Bulldogs are back on the diamond on Wednesday at 3 p.m., when they face instate rival Connecticut (9-10).