The Yale baseball team allowed early runs to a pair of Connecticut opponents, overcoming an early deficit against Trinity College but not against Sacred Heart to split its midweek matchups.
The Bulldogs (10–19, 2–10 Ivy) defeated Division III opponent Trinity College (10–11, 2–4 New England Small College Athletic) on Tuesday 6–2 before falling to fellow in-state rival Sacred Heart (9–18–1, 3–1 Northeast) the following afternoon 9–4.
In the first start for pitcher Eric Brodkowitz ’18 since the April 4 game against Columbia — in which he allowed nine earned runs over four innings — he scattered seven hits by the Bantams to allow just two runs over eight innings.
But Brodkowitz was shaky early, needing a pair of innings to settle in as Trinity opened the scoring in the first inning and followed with a run in the second. From then on, however, the freshman from Potomac, Maryland faced no more than four hitters in each of the next six innings he pitched, finishing his outing with one walk and seven strikeouts on 107 pitches.
“It was good to get a win for the team after we struggled this weekend,” Brodkowitz said. “For me, it really felt like any other start. I was effective when I concentrated, and the start reinforced that I need to keep focusing on getting the ball down [in the strike zone].”
Yale’s offense managed to score six runs on just five hits thanks to control problems from the Bantam pitching staff: Trinity pitchers had four walks, four hit by pitches and seven wild pitches. Eight of the nine starters reached base for the Bulldogs against the inconsistent Trinity hurlers.
The wildness of the opposing pitchers was apparent as early as the first inning, as leadoff hitter Green Campbell ’15 reached base despite striking out thanks to a wild pitch on strike three. In fact, the Elis were able to load the bases with no outs without a single hit, as left fielder Eric Hsieh ’15 and shortstop Richard Slenker ’17 reached base on a hit by pitch and walk, respectively.
“He was throwing all curveballs and all cutters. He was effectively wild,” Campbell said. “[He threw] a lot of balls, [with] not a lot of strikes, and it was really keeping our hitters off balance … I don’t think he threw a single fastball.”
Right fielder David Toups ’15 helped the Bulldogs tie the game in the bottom of the first before first baseman Robert Baldwin ’15 followed with a groundout to drive in a run and put the Elis up 2–1 at the end of the frame.
A similar scenario followed in the seventh inning, when pinch hitter Derek Brown ’17 expanded the lead with a two-run single after Yale loaded the bases for a second time without putting the ball in play, using instead two hit-by-pitches and a walk.
“My approach during my at-bat was to stay short to the ball and challenge the defense by hitting something hard the other way,” Brown said.
The Bulldogs scored just three runs on hits, as two runs were tacked on when runners scored on wild pitches. Despite being outhit, the Eli offense remained disciplined at the plate and took advantage of timely hits and defensive miscues to outscore Trinity, according to Brown.
On Wednesday afternoon, pitcher Drew Scott ’18 experienced similar struggles as Brodkowitz early on, allowing four runs to Sacred Heart in the first two frames, which were the only runs he would allow over 6.1 innings.
Though the Elis contained the Pioneers through the middle innings, the Sacred Heart offense broke open a tight contest in the eighth with two runs and tacked on three unearned runs in the final frame.
Perhaps the biggest bugaboo for the Yale pitching staff was its propensity to allow baserunners. The Pioneers totaled 15 hits and three bases on balls, in addition to one hit-by-pitch, putting runners on base in eight of nine innings.
Yale’s offense warmed up with the weather, as the Elis notched 10 hits, but could not break through against Sacred Heart’s pitching-by-committee strategy. The Bulldogs pulled to within one run, 4–3, in the seventh inning following a two-run single by Baldwin, but ultimately fell 9–4.
“It’s honestly pretty tough when you go from facing 90 mile-per-hour arms in all four games against Dartmouth to facing 70 mile-per-hour range arms in Trinity and Sacred Heart,” Campbell said. “Not that we should use that as an excuse, but … we didn’t really have a practice where we worked on sitting back and using the opposite field type approach. We were kind of pressing a little bit.”
The Bulldogs hit the road this weekend, traveling north to Cambridge for a four-game set against Harvard beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.