It was a long, hard afternoon at Yale Field on Wednesday.
In the first game of a doubleheader against Fairfield, Yale came away with a 3-2 win in an 11-inning nail-biter. In the second game, however, the Elis came up short as the visiting Stags pulled off a 7-6 victory.
“We had a couple of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, but we got the win [in the first game] so I won’t complain too much,” shortstop Matt Schmidt ’12 said.
Pat Ludwig ’12 opened on the mound for the Bulldogs (10-16, 5-7) in the first game. The starter held the Stags (15-15) with no runs through the first three innings, and struck out four of the 14 batters he faced.
In the fourth inning, Alex Young ’11 went in to pitch for Ludwig, and Fairfield’s Jason Rago hit a two-run home run over the left field fence. Yale’s Robert Gruber ’10 then came in to finish the inning. Fairfield scored their third run before quitting the inning.
Fighting back from a fresh 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth, infielder Zach Tobolowsky ’12 singled up the middle. Andy Megee ’11 then followed with a double that brought in the RBI.
Yale held Fairfield in the top of the fifth, and scored its last two runs in regular innings in the bottom of the fifth. Outfielder Andrew Kolmar ’11 opened with a double down the left field line. Schmidt walked, and the two advanced to scoring position on wild pitches. Kolmar then scored on another wild pitch, and Tobolowsky doubled to left field, sending Schmidt home and earning the RBI. Fairfield then brought Dan Gallagher from the bullpen to replace Sam Robertson, and the inning ended.
Then a grueling stalemate began. In the sixth, Greg Lyons ’12 was brought to pitch for Gruber. Yale had hits in the sixth and eighth, but neither play produced runs. In the seventh, Eric Shultz ’12 took the mound.
“There was a terrible call in the ninth inning that caused us to not end the [first] game then,” captain Stefan Schropp ’09 said. “Pitchers held the scoring down — hitters did a good job every time they came to the plate.”
In the bottom of the 11th inning, four innings past the seven innings expected, infielder Gant Elmore ’11 — pinch-hitting for Harry Koulos ’10 — walked. Outfielder Andrew Moore ’11 sacrifice bunted to first base, and advanced Elmore to second. Elmore made it to third on a balk by the pitcher. Schropp then hit a sacrifice fly to center field that, while caught, sent Elmore home for the late-inning win.
“We battled and competed all day,” Schropp said.
The second game began late because of the long first game, and Fairfield, eager to bounce back from the loss, immediately put three runs on the board in the top of the first inning.
Off its high, Yale was not to be outdone. Schropp opened with a single up the middle. Megee and Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’11 each followed with singles. Schropp scored on Megee’s hit, and a single by Charlie Neil ’12 earned two RBI. Moore’s double to right center then sealed the four-run inning for the Elis.
Bulldog pitcher Will Stratton ’11 opened in the second inning, replacing Joe Castaldi ’10, who had opened the game. At the plate, the Bulldogs added another run as Schmidt singled, stole second, and ran home on a single by Schropp.
The Stags tied the score in the third and went up a run in the fourth, and Yale was unable to get a break. After the top of the sixth, Fairfield led 7-5.
Fairfield pitcher Doug Ciallella hit Yale’s Stanley and Schmidt with pitches before the visitors’ Piccirillo was brought from the bench to replace him. Elmore then hit into a double play, but Stanley took the opportunity to head home.
One run shy of the win, the Bulldogs were left 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
One notable signature of the midweek games is that many pitchers are given the chance to throw. Despite the extra innings, however, Schropp explained that the pitching rotation was pretty much the same, except some pitchers were given a few more innings.
“We were going to try and use everyone,” he said. “Shultz threw yesterday and he came back today with three strong innings. He wouldn’t let the fatigue get to him.”
After playing their fifth and sixth games this week on Tuesday, the Bulldogs could have been falling asleep at the plate. Today, however, they weren’t going to take afternoon naps.
“It would have been easy to say we’re exhausted, but we really dug down deep and gave them everything,” Schropp said.
By the weekend, players said they will be primed and ready for Ivy competition. This weekend, the Bulldogs play Dartmouth at Yale Field.
“We’ll take it one game, one day at a time,” pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 said.
Play begins Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 p.m.