The baseball team put together a solid all-around performance in the last eight innings against Sacred Heart University yesterday, but they could not overcome a rough first inning.
The Pioneers (10–16, 6–2 Northeast Conference) put up four runs in the bottom of the first inning as they won 6–3 to defend their home field against the Elis (6–18–1, 0–4 Ivy).
“The pitchers and our team as a whole were especially resilient today,” catcher and captain Ryan Brenner ’12 said. “That’s the sign of a great team — the ability to come back against adversity.”
Lefthander Ben Joseph ’15, making his first appearance since the second game of the season, was unable to get an out in the first inning before head coach John Stuper replaced him with Nolan Becker ’13. Joseph led off the inning by hitting the first two batters and then surrendered an RBI double to Sacred Heart shortstop John Murphy. He walked the next two batters, forcing in another run, before Becker relieved him.
Becker struck out his first two opponents, and Yale appeared to be on its way out of the jam, down only 2–0, when Becker walked right fielder Zach Grandee with a full count and then walked third baseman Billy McDonough to give the Pioneers a 4–0 advantage after one frame.
The Elis threatened several times before finally getting on the scoreboard thanks to designated hitter Josh Scharff’s ’13 solo blast to lead off the fourth inning.
“Scharff has always been one of our best hitters, and that was a shot,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said. “It definitely gave us a jolt.”
Hanson hit a two-out single in the top of the first and advanced to second when Brenner walked, but they were stranded on base. Right fielder Joe Lubanski ’15 started another two-out rally in the second with a single to center, but he was forced out at second.
Yale’s greatest threat came with yet another two-out hit — a double by Hanson — and it seemed that he would score when Brenner socked a single through the left side of the infield. Instead Hanson was gunned down at the plate by Pioneer left fielder Matt Charmello.
The shot to center by Scharff made the score 6–1 in the fourth, as Sacred Heart had added two runs off of Becker in the bottom of the third. Southpaw Eric Hsieh ’15 then entered in the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings to keep Yale within striking distance.
The Elis began chipping away at the lead again with two runs in the top of the sixth. After walks to outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 and first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 to start the frame, center fielder Cam Squires ’13 drove home a run with a grounder to first. Third baseman Chris Piwinski ’13 drove the second run with a single, but that was the extent of the scoring in the inning and in the game.
Hurlers Chris O’Hare ’13 and Eric Schultz ’13 kept Sacred Heart off of the board, but the Pioneer pitching staff did the same to Yale.
Although yesterday was one of the better days this season for Yale’s hitters, it was just another day at the park for Hanson. Hanson went 3–4 with a walk to raise his team high average to .378.
“[Hanson] is a great guy to feed off of,” Piwinski said. “You’re just confident that every time he gets up [to the plate] that he’s going to get a hit.”
The Bulldogs will try and take the momentum from this game into Ivy League play this weekend, when they host Princeton (9–11, 3–1 Ivy) for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 7.