The baseball team knew there was a slim chance of remaining in the Red Rolfe Division race after this past weekend. But by Saturday night, it had played itself out of contention.
Needing to win at least three of the weekend’s four games against the Bears (19-24, 9-11 Ivy) to stay within reach of Dartmouth (24-14, 15-5), the Bulldogs (20-24-1, 9-10-1) were shut out three times, scoring only six runs all weekend on the way to being swept. In Saturday’s doubleheader, played in Providence, Yale fell 8-0 and 12-6. Back in New Haven, the Bears defeated the Elis 7-0 and 9-0.
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Saturday’s two losses combined with first-place Dartmouth’s two wins over Harvard (8-12, 9-30) clinched the Red Rolfe Division title for the Big Green — its first since 2004.
Yale’s Rolfe Division championship drought is now at 13 seasons, dating back to the 1995 campaign.
“It was just disappointing that we didn’t play our best at all this weekend,” pitcher Joe Castaldi ’10 said. “We struggled with every facet of the game. We didn’t play to our potential, and that’s the most frustrating part. But you have to give them credit, they came out and played well.”
The Elis — with only 10 position players in uniform — simply could not put it together all weekend.
“The fact that we had so many guys out with injuries caught up with us this weekend,” Vinny Lally ’11 said. “Not to make excuses, but we only had 10 position players and we missed those [injured] guys.”
In the series opener, the Bulldog offense fell victim to a tremendous performance on the hill by Brown’s Alex Silverman.
Yale mustered just two hits off the senior right-hander, who also struck out 16 Bulldogs on his way to a complete-game shutout.
Every Eli in the lineup struck out at least once, and after Chris Sweeney ’10 led the second inning off with a single, Yale went hitless for the remainder of the game.
Brian Irving ’08 got the start on the hill for the Bulldogs, but the staff ace could not counter Silverman’s gem. Irving lasted just three innings before being relieved by Joe Castaldi ’10, and allowed six runs — five earned — on nine hits.
Castaldi completed the seven-inning contest on the mound, going three innings and allowing two runs on six hits.
In game two the Eli offense produced, but not enough to offset some pitching struggles.
After the Bulldogs quickly scored two runs in the first, the Bears responded with seven runs over the first three innings.
Starter Brandon Josselyn ’09 lasted just 1.2 of those three innings, surrendering five runs — four earned — seven hits and two walks. Lally and John Henry Davis ’08 finished the game for the Elis.
On the offensive side, leadoff man Josh Cox ’08 went 3-6 at the plate to break teammate Ryan Lavarnway’s ’09 Yale single-season hits record of 70. The speedster came around to score twice as well.
Dan Soltman ’08 also came up big in one of his final games as a collegiate. The final man in the batting order, the shortstop went 4-4 with a walk.
Saturday’s struggles carried over to New Haven on Sunday. Much like during Saturday’s game one, the Bulldog offense sputtered at the plate as two more Brown starters tossed complete-game shutouts.
Game one’s complete game came from Will Weidig. Weidig surrendered just four hits and did not walk a single batter on the way to striking out seven Bulldogs.
Chris Finneran ’10 got the start for the Elis and pitched a serviceable five innings. Although he allowed just four hits, he also walked seven Bears and allowed five runs, three earned.
Matthew Smith ’10 and Robert Gruber ’10 each allowed a run in their one-inning appearances to complete the game.
Brown then turned to Mark Gomley for the series finale’s start, and once again a Brown hurler delivered. Gromley pitched all nine innings, scattering seven hits on the way to the weekend’s third shutout.
In his final collegiate start, Alex Christ ’08 pitched 5.1 innings and allowed six runs — five earned — on seven hits.
From there the bullpen surrendered three more runs for a 9-0 final score.
Cox and Soltman each singled once in their final game as Bulldogs. Cox also added a stolen base to bring his season tally to 21.
But the Eli offense, as was the case much of the rest of the weekend, could not generate runs.
“We just struggled,” Andy Megee ’11 said. “It was just one of those weekends. Stuff just snowballed.”
Although the team did not attain its goal, the season was not a failure to the players.
“There are so many high points to look back and be proud of,” Cox said. “When we had our backs against the wall, we made plays. Although we’re not in the position we wanted to be in, we had a lot of high points this season we can be proud of.”