The Yale baseball team played its fifth game in three days yesterday against Connecticut, and that heavy workload appeared to take its toll, as the Bulldogs fell 14–1 to the Huskies in a non-conference game.
A depleted Yale pitching staff pieced the game together, with five different pitchers taking the hill for the Bulldogs. The last two, right-handers Robert Baldwin ’15 and captain Cale Hanson ’14, were the only Eli pitchers to leave the mound unscathed.
“It was just not a good performance overall,” said center fielder Green Campbell ’15. “We just didn’t have a good pitching performance from anyone. Whenever as a team you don’t have someone up there being a leader on the mound, it’s tough to rally behind them.”
Non-conference losses can occasionally be attributed to a mismatch in competition level, but UConn was a team that Yale topped 15–5 at this point last year.
Campbell noted that the team was worn out after two consecutive doubleheaders against Penn and Columbia, while second baseman David Toups ’15 said it was a matter of which team was having a good day at the plate.
“Last year we were on the other side of it, and we were sticking hits quite a bit,” Toups said. “This year they returned the favor. It was nothing else, really.”
The Huskies also needed to go deep into their pitching staff for the game, as yesterday’s midweek contest marked their fifth consecutive day of action.
Of the six pitchers that Yale faced, the squad was not able to score until the fifth one, when first baseman Alec Hoeschel ’17 scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of second baseman Nate Adams ’16 in the seventh frame.
Because Hoeschel had initially reached on an error, no UConn pitcher gave up an earned run in the game.
In total, the Bulldogs had six hits in the game, while the Huskies scattered 15.
“[Connecticut’s pitching] was above average, but nothing more than that,” Campbell said. “It was not anything we haven’t seen all year. Upper 80s to low 90s [miles per hour], but the loss was really on us … We beat ourselves.”
Campbell added that the Bulldogs made three separate base-running mistakes to effectively run Yale out of scoring chances.
Southpaw Eric Hsieh ’15 got the start for Yale, his third appearance and first start of the year as a pitcher.
The Huskies got to Hsieh early, smashing five hits for five runs in the first inning. Pitcher Nate O’Leary ’15 came in to replace Hsieh with no outs in the second frame after two consecutive UConn doubles and one run.
O’Leary held strong for a full three innings without allowing a hit, but the Huskies continued their rampage in the fifth frame when two batters reached on walks, one singled and another tagged O’Leary for a three-run home run to make the score 10–0.
Freshman pitcher David McCullough ’17 then entered the game and finished the fifth with no additional runs, but allowed four more in the sixth on a combinations of hits and walks.
The Bulldogs would score their lone run in the top of the seventh, after which point UConn could no longer score off the duo of Baldwin and Hanson, despite scratching two hits off of each of them.
But Yale could not plate any additional runs either, and the score remained 14–1 after nine.
Despite the score, the Bulldogs left the field with a few small positives, most notably the strong individual performances of Toups and Campbell, their third and fourth hitters in the lineup.
Toups went 2–4 for the second consecutive game, while Campbell went 1–2 and extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Both players said the most important thing is whether or not any given individual performance can help the team win.
“I’m just trying to keep it going for Ivy League play, because that’s everything that we work for,” Toups said.
Toups will get his chance to do that this weekend, when the Bulldogs host Cornell on Saturday and Princeton on Sunday for doubleheaders.