Five hundred miles up the East Coast, and the Yale baseball team found more of the same in Connecticut.
Coming off three consecutive one-run games versus Radford over the weekend in Virginia — the last two of them losses — to end their spring break trip down south, the Bulldogs (6-14) fell victim to UConn (11-10) in another one-run loss yesterday, 4-3. And as in the previous loss, defense proved to be the difference.
In the seventh inning, reliever Chris Walsh ’09 (1-3, 8.59 ERA) committed the crucial miscue with an errant pick-off attempt to first base. The error allowed the winning run to score and extended Yale’s losing streak to three.
“It was a first-and-third situation, and, I believe, a 2-1 count, so a hit-and-run was a possibility at that point,” Walsh explained. “I just wanted to make sure he didn’t get a good jump, and I didn’t give up any free bases. I tried a quick move to catch him off guard, and it just got by the first baseman.”
After clawing back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at three with a run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh, the Huskies were able to put an unearned run on the board in the seventh, which Yale couldn’t make up for.
Joe Castaldi ’10 (0-0, 8.64) got his first career start on the mound for the Bulldogs, and after scattering three hits over the first four innings, the Huskies changed the game with one swing.
Designated hitter Matt Kyle led the Husky half with a single and advanced to second on an error by second baseman Dan Soltman ’08. Right fielder Matt Burnett then walked. With none out, freshman second baseman Pierre LePage attempted a sacrifice bunt but was unable to advance the runners when Kyle was thrown out at third base.
Center fielder Eliot Glynn then stepped up to the plate and turned on the first pitch he saw from Castaldi, placing it over the right field wall for a three-run home run to give the Huskies a 3-0 advantage.
“I tried to get ahead with a fastball over the inside corner, but it crept a little over the plate and he made me pay for it,” Castaldi said. “It was the first bad pitch I threw all game. It was a good pitch to hit.”
After hitting and walking the next two hitters, Castaldi was relieved by Matthew Smith ’10 (0-0, 3.38). Smith was able to secure the final two outs without more damage.
Castaldi ended up going 4.1 innings, allowing five hits, walking three and striking out three to go with the three runs off of Glynn’s bat.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the next half, scoring their first run in the sixth. The team’s two best hitters thus far manufactured the run in textbook fashion.
After singling through the left side, center fielder and leadoff man Josh Cox ’08 stole second and was later singled home by last week’s Ivy League Player of the Week, Ryan Lavarnway ’09.
Cox and Yale’s all-time home-run leader, Lavarnway, along with catcher Davis Stanley ’09, each had two hits for the Elis.
Will Musson (1-0. 5.87) relieved Husky starter Trent DeLazzer (1-1, 4.43) after the sixth inning. DeLazzer went six innings, allowed one run on four hits, walked three and struck out one.
With DeLazzer out, Yale put two more on the board in the seventh, thanks to some Husky miscues and timely hitting.
After Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 struck out to lead off the inning, third baseman Andy Megee ’11 doubled to center. Stanley was then hit by a pitch, followed by a Soltman groundout that advanced the runners into scoring position.
The hot-hitting Cox (.384 AVG) then stepped up to the plate, and, after a passed ball scored Megee, the senior center fielder brought Stanley in with a single up the middle to tie the game up at three.
It was Yale that then made a costly mistake.
After newly inserted pitcher Walsh allowed two singles, runners stood on first and third. Walsh then attempted to pick off the Husky runner but threw it away, giving up the game’s deciding run.
Yale had a threat in the ninth with two on and one out, but were unable to capitalize when Soltman and Cox both struck out swinging to end the game.
Walsh took the loss for Yale, while Will Musson got the win and Karl the save for UConn.
Even with another tough loss, the Bulldogs aren’t fazed.
“It’s frustrating, but we’ve still been in games,” Castaldi said. “We’re happy to see that we’re in games against some tough competition. It shows a lot a character to come back from a 3-0 deficit. It’s great to see.”
The Bulldogs now have their eyes set on their first Ivy League action of the season this weekend on the road in doubleheaders against Penn (6-7) on Saturday and Columbia (4-14) on Sunday.
“The thing is, all these game we’ve played don’t reflect how good we are, and in the end they don’t matter,” Lavarnway said. “Now that the Ivy League season is starting [this weekend], it really matters. Our goal this season is to win the Ivy League.”