The baseball team knows that this weekend’s pair of doubleheaders against Brown is all that matters. But a win never hurts.
The Bulldogs (20-20-1, 9-6-1 Ivy) played their final non-conference game of the season at Northeastern Conference member Hartford (14-20) on Wednesday afternoon and came out of the matchup with an 11-6 victory.
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Although the game was, in effect, meaningless for their division title hopes, any momentum going into the crucial weekend is important for the Elis.
“Today was a big win to keep us rolling into the weekend,” Dan Soltman ’08 said. “Obviously non-conference games don’t affect the standings, but it’s great to go out there and win.”
On the way to victory, the Bulldogs rode the bats of two of their hottest hitters.
Leadoff man Josh Cox ’08 added to his Ivy League-leading hit total with three more to make it 68, including his 14th double of the season. Cox also stole his 20th base and is currently hitting .386 on the season.
P.J. Gorynski ’08, who was originally the team’s starting second baseman and is now behind the plate filling in for the injured Ryan Lavarnway ’09, also kept up his blistering pace at the plate. The senior had four hits — missing the cycle only by a triple — and drove in three runs. Gorynski is now riding a nine-game hitting streak.
Andy Megee ’11 and Chris Sweeney ’10 also contributed at the dish. Each player had two hits and a home run in the four and six holes, respectively.
Megee finished with two RBI, while Sweeney had three.
Without one of the best hitters in the country — Lavarnway — in the lineup for the remainder of the season, the Bulldogs have found ways to keep producing offensively.
“It’s tough that [Lavarnway’s] gone, but we’re all trying to move on,” Megee said. “Everyone’s stepped up. P.J. [Gorynski] especially, he’s done amazing. Schropp and Cox have been doing great all season.”
Yale first got on the board with two runs in the third inning. Cox singled to lead things off and trotted home when Gorynski belted a two-run homerun.
After the Hawks put a run up in their half of the third, the Bulldogs quickly put the game away with seven runs in the fourth. And once again it was Cox and Gorynski who got things rolling.
After Soltman walked to lead off the inning, Cox doubled to right and Gorynski singled Soltman home the next at-bat.
Stefan Schropp ’09 then singled Cox home, and Gorynski scored after an error. Schropp later scored on a wild pitch before Sweeney belted a three-run homerun with Megee and Andrew Moore ’11 on base after walking at the plate.
At that point, the game was already out of reach for the Hawks with the score at 9-1.
The Bulldogs had 16 hits on the way to their 11 runs.
On the mound, the Elis went with their unorthodox pitching plan, which they have often implemented recently in non-conference mid-week games.
In all, eight Bulldogs saw action on the hill, led by two innings from starter Joe Castaldi ’10.
Castaldi allowed no runs and just one hit in his brief start.
The Eli hurlers combined to surrender the six runs on 12 hits and one walk.
For Yale, next on the slate is another vital Ivy League series in the last of their scheduled regular-season games. This weekend the Bulldogs will play a home-and-home series against suddenly stumbling Brown (15-24, 5-11).
If the Elis wish to have any shot at the Red Rolfe Division title, they will need to win at least two more games this weekend than Dartmouth, which takes on Harvard in a home-and-home.
“Harvard’s been playing well, so there’s a good chance that Dartmouth can split or do worse,” Vinny Lally ’11 said.
With all the scenarios out there, the Bulldogs know one thing: They need to take care of their own business this weekend.
“I think we are just going to go in and do the best we can,” Soltman said. “We’re going to try to take care of our business, and hopefully we get some help.”