In an exhibition game on Saturday, the Yale and Wesleyan baseball teams added another historic moment to the 150-year legacy of both programs.
The Bulldogs dropped a 6–3 decision to the Cardinals in a night contest at Yale Field that lasted 10 innings.
Both teams donned throwback uniforms for the special celebration. Yale’s cream-colored uniforms featured blue collars and baggy pants reminiscent of those worn in the 19th century, and former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent LAW ’63 spoke before the game about some of the most storied moments to have taken place at Yale Field.
“We have been looking forward to the game for a while,” Andrew Herrera ’17 said. “It really hit me when we got the old throwback uniforms and got to try them on the day before the game. Not many programs in the country can celebrate 150 years of history. Even though we did not come out on top, it was such a great experience to be a part of.”
Following the pregame ceremonies and an honorary first pitch delivered by University President Peter Salovey, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 1–0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Newcomer Tim DeGraw ’19, who earned the start in center field, opened the Yale attack with a leadoff single against Wesleyan starter Peter Rantz. Degraw eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by third baseman Richard Slenker ’17, who led the team in doubles and tied for second in RBIs last spring.
DeGraw was not the only freshman sitting atop the Yale lineup, as second baseman Simon Whiteman ’19 batted in the second slot for the Bulldogs in the team’s first action of the year.
“I feel like Simon and I are very similar players and can get on base and provide a spark for the team,” DeGraw said. “We have a small roster here at Yale so I think it’s vital for all of our freshman to step right in and contribute to the best of our abilities in order to help the team machine run smoothly.”
Eric Brodkowitz ’18 started the game on the mound for the Bulldogs and held the Cardinals scoreless through the first two innings. He tossed two no-hit innings and struck out three of the seven batters he faced. Brodkowitz developed into a reliable starting pitcher for Yale last spring, recording a 3–3 record and sporting a 6.25 ERA.
The Elis bolstered the lead for Brodkowitz in the second inning. Shortstop Tom O’Neill ’16 doubled to left field and sprinted all the way home from second base on a wild pitch that Wesleyan catcher Eric Jones was unable to locate.
Despite the miscue, Wesleyan tied the game at 2–2 in the very next inning. Tyler Duncan ’18 replaced Brodkowitz on the bump for the Bulldogs, becoming the second of an eventual eight Elis to pitch.
Following an error, a walk and two wild pitches, the Cardinals took advantage of the Bulldogs’ sloppy play with a two-RBI single from second baseman Will O’Sullivan.
Yale and Wesleyan traded runs again in the fifth inning to knot the score up at three apiece, at which point both teams’ bats fell silent until the extra frame.
But the Bulldogs came close to scoring in the bottom of the ninth, as Whiteman singled to left field and stole second base. A pair of walks to right fielder Harrison White ’17 and Slenker loaded the bases for first baseman Griffin Dey ’19.
With a chance to drive in the winning run in walk-off fashion, the freshman rolled into a double play, stranding the base runners and sending the game into extra innings.
Although the rally faltered, Whiteman continued to provide a spark, as his single in the ninth inning accompanied a triple in the fifth inning.
“It was pivotal for me to relax, and after the first time around the bases, I tried to do just that,” Whiteman said. “Once I allowed myself to return to a comfort zone, the game slowed back down.”
Despite Whiteman’s play, Wesleyan took control of the contest in the 10th inning when the Cardinals were able to manufacture the winning run. O’Sullivan drew a walk to lead off the inning, advancing to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch by righty Chasen Ford ’17. AJ Ferrara executed a suicidesqueeze bunt to bring home the go-ahead run, before the Cardinals tacked on two more runs to put the game out of hand.
Ford was tagged with the loss for the Elis after pitching 2.1 innings and giving up a pair of runs on two hits. The Lake Forest, California native also punched out three batters.
“We got a couple bad breaks, and that happens sometimes, so we can’t hang our heads,” Herrera said. “I really liked the way the team performed. We have a lot of younger guys playing, and we are playing fast and hard. I think we have a very high ceiling this year.”
The Bulldogs do not play again until Oct. 9 when they host Southern Connecticut State University at Yale Field in the first game of the annual City Series.