The saying goes in baseball that there is always next year. That will have to be the case for the Bulldogs, as they were eliminated from contention in the Ivy League by Dartmouth this weekend.
Yale (9–30–1, 2–14 Ivy) was swept by Dartmouth (17–15, 11–5 Ivy) in Hanover. After two one-run losses in the doubleheader on Friday, the Elis fell seven games behind the Big Green in the Red Rolfe division with just six Ancient Eight contests remaining. Dartmouth then swept the twin bill on Saturday for emphasis.
In what has been a familiar theme all season, Yale was close to Dartmouth in every game. Three of the four contests were decided by two runs or less — Yale is 5–17 in such games on the season.
“We are much, much better than our record shows,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said. “It’s a good learning point for us going into the next season … We’re going to have to learn how to win close games.”
In the first game of the series on Friday Yale took an early 1–0 lead when first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 homered in the top of the second inning. Dartmouth rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth, however, to erase Yale’s lead.
Although Yale knotted the game at three all on a two-run single by Fortunato, the Big Green went on top for good with a two-out single by centerfielder Jake Carlson.
Fortunato continued to stay hot in the second game, driving in two with a double in the first, but Dartmouth led 4–2 after two innings.
Yale chipped away at the lead with a run-scoring groundout by designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 in the fourth before outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 tied it with an RBI double in the sixth.
The score remained tied until Big Green first baseman Dustin Selzer hit a walk–off single in the bottom of the 12th to give Dartmouth a 5–4 win and end Yale’s postseason hopes.
“For whatever reason we haven’t been able to come up with the big hit this year,” catcher Ryan Brenner ’12. “I’m really proud of the guys. It’s not because [they] didn’t try.”
With nothing but pride to play for in Saturday’s doubleheader, the Bulldogs did not go down without a fight.
Yale starter Pat Ludwig ’12 struck out six and gave up just five hits over six innings. Ludwig was tagged for a two-run home run by Selzer though, which would prove more than enough run support for Dartmouth hurler Kyle Hunter.
Hunter threw a seven-inning complete game shutout to notch his second win on the season.
Despite taking a one-run lead in the top of the first in the final game of the series, the Bulldogs were outslugged by the Big Green 8–4 in the final game of the series.
“The seniors have pretty much said to learn from this experience,” pitcher Eric Hsieh ’15 said. “To remember what it feels like when you’re losing … to learn from it and never let it happen again.”
Although hopes of an Ivy League crown were put to rest this weekend, Yale’s season is not over. The team wants to end the season on a winning streak to send out the class of 2012 and set the tone for next season, Hanson and Hsieh said.
Yale will travel to Holy Cross tomorrow for a weekday game against the Crusaders.