Today the men’s baseball team played its first game of the season at Yale Field, and did all it could to muster a come-from-behind win before losing 4-3 to the University of Connecticut.
The Elis faced UConn in their last game before Ivy League play begins with Princeton on Saturday, and jumped out to an early lead against the Huskies off an RBI hit by captain and outfielder Stefan Schropp ’09 in the bottom of the third inning.
The Bulldogs’ lead did not last long, however, when the Huskies responded in the top of the fourth inning. Chris Walsh ’09 came in to pitch for Brandon Josselyn ’09, who had pitched a perfect inning in the third. Walsh gave up two runs on three hits as the Connecticut Huskies took a 2-1 lead over the Elis.
The men’s baseball team displayed their resilience as their bats answered back in the bottom of the fourth. First baseman Trygg Danforth ’10 led the inning off with a single through to right field to start the Bulldogs’ rally. Danforth was followed by a walk to left fielder Charlie Neil ’12.
The Elis took advantage of the momentum as catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 grounded out to shortstop, scoring Danforth after a sacrifice bunt by Chris Sweeney ’10. The rally was capped with an RBI single by outfielder Andrew Moor ’11, who was 3-for-3 on the day.
The Bulldogs managed to hold their lead under strong performances from Greg Lyons ’12, who only allowed one hit over one and a third innings, and Joe Castaldi ’10, who pitched a perfect inning on the mound. The Elis, however, were unable to maintain their lead for long as the Huskies managed to strike back in the top of the seventh inning for two runs. Robert Gruber ’10 had a tough time on the mound, allowing two hits and three walks in the inning, but also showed that he could get it done on the mound with one assist and one strikeout.
The Bulldogs were unable to rally in the late innings and fell 4-3. For the Elis, however, this game was less about winning and more about tuning up before Ivy League conference play. The game featured 10 different pitchers for the Bulldogs as head coach John Stuper tried to get as many of his players a bit more game-time experience.
“Ten different guys pitched today, and all 10 really threw the ball well today, which is great to see,” Schropp said.
Despite strong performances and good hitting in the early innings, the Bulldogs’ bats were not quite what they have been the last few games. The three runs scored by the Elis were significantly less than the six and a half runs they were averaging coming into the game against Connecticut. However, players said they have few worries that they will be able to bounce back to true form.
“We have really been hitting the ball,” Josselyn said. “And we’re looking to continue to hit well going forward.”
The Elis will be facing Ivy League competition this weekend beginning with Princeton on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday on the road. Players are looking forward to a successful weekend, and are expecting big outings from their pitchers who performed well in yesterday’s game.
“Obviously every weekend we come out to win,” Vinny Lally ’11 said. “This weekend is no different; we’re going to be looking win all four games.”
As for what it will take to win big this weekend, Josselyn put it plain and simple: good hitting, good pitching and good defense.