The Yale baseball team hosted the annual City Series of New Haven this past weekend and ended up dropping a pair of contests to Southern Connecticut State University and the University of New Haven. Following a tight 3–2 loss to SCSU on Saturday, the Bulldogs came up short against New Haven, falling 7–5 in the consolation game despite outhitting the Chargers 13–10.
“Nobody came out of Sunday happy with the result from the weekend. We are competitors and hate losing,” captain and pitcher Chris Moates ’16 said. “That being said, it is important to remember that the entire purpose of the fall is to prepare us for our spring season. This weekend was a good wake-up call that we are not where we need to be.”
The first of Yale’s two losses was a close one, and all the scoring took place in the game’s first three innings. Both teams strapped down from that point forward and played scoreless ball for the final six innings of play.
Pitcher Eric Brodkowitz ’18, who tossed two complete games a season ago, started the game and went three innings, surrendering three earned runs on four hits and one walk.
After those three runs, SCSU was able to hold on to finish off the Bulldogs despite high-quality performances from the Yale bullpen. Right-hander Drew Scott ’17 threw 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while fanning seven.
The Bulldogs outhit the Owls 9–7 but they left eight men on base, which proved costly in the one-run affair. Designated hitter Alec Hoeschel ’17 drove in first baseman Griffin Dey ’19 in the bottom of the second to score Yale’s first run, and left fielder Nate Adams ’16 provided the only Bulldog home run of the City Series, a solo shot in the bottom of the third that cut the deficit to 3–2.
In the consolation game the next day, Yale showed promise for the Ivy season this spring despite the loss. Feeding those hopes is a batch of new talent. Sunday’s game marked the first start for the right-handed pitcher Scott Politz ’19 as a college ballplayer. Politz was effective on the bump early on, sailing through the first three innings. Although he hit a rough patch with two outs in the fourth, allowing five runs in the inning, the freshman was content with his performance.
After making his collegiate debut out of the bullpen, Politz credited the appearance with helping him adjust on the mound.
“I felt great,” Politz said of his first career start. “I got the nervousness out in the last few games.”
Politz lasted 3.2 innings, giving up the five runs on seven hits while punching out four Chargers, before handing the ball over to the right-handed Chasen Ford ’17.
Ford was the hard-luck loser, picking up the loss even though he allowed zero earned runs on just two hits in his 3.1 innings of relief. Ford, who ranked second on the Bulldogs a year ago in innings pitched and strikeouts, remained positive despite the negative outcome.
“Getting the loss, [I] can’t be too happy, but it was a good game,” Ford said. “We played well. It was a dogfight … My job was to stop the bleeding and give our offense a chance.”
Despite some struggles late in the game, Yale’s lineup did string together a few runs throughout the day. Second baseman Simon Whiteman ’19 was responsible for three hits and the first run of the game with some crafty base running. In a display of hitting and speed, Whiteman singled, stole second, advanced to third on an error and then made it home on a wild pitch. Fellow Bulldogs Tom O’Neill ’16, Nate Adams ’16 and Richard Slenker ’17 also delivered multihit games, combining for a total of nine hits produced by the four players.
While the Elis did produce five runs, they ultimately failed to deliver in a few opportune moments that could have shifted the momentum of the ballgame. The Bulldogs’ main issue was that they failed to capitalize on situations with runners in scoring position. They left a total of 12 men on base including the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. Later, in the eighth inning, right fielder Harrison White ’17 grounded into a double play, ending the Bulldog threat.
With the exception of the fourth inning — when New Haven posted five runs on five hits in the frame — Yale’s pitching was strong. The Bulldogs’ staff allowed only five Charger hits in the other eight innings of play. Tyler Duncan ’18 took over for Ford and allowed one run on one hit in the eighth inning. Kumar Nambiar ’19 and Mason Kukowski ’18 finished out the game strong, combining for a hitless ninth. On the flip side, New Haven pitching gave up five runs, 13 hits and five walks, including two Eli runs in the sixth that tied the game at five apiece.
Ultimately, an unearned run in the seventh and a manufactured run in the eighth put the Chargers ahead for good, bringing Yale’s winless weekend to a close.
After the pair of tight losses, Ford noted that Sunday’s contest was a significant step forward for the coming season.
“We wanted to end the fall with a win, but other than that one inning, it was probably our best game of the fall,” Ford said.
The fall exhibitions are only a sneak peek at the real action coming in the spring. As the Bulldogs look to improve on their sixth-place mark in the Ivy League a season ago, the fall provides an opportunity for the team to begin figuring out possible lineup options and defensive positions.
“We have a lot of guys trying out new positions,” Ford said. “We have a lot of depth in pitching, but we still have to find everyone’s role.”
In Sunday’s City Series championship finale, SCSU topped Quinnipiac in a 4–1 final.