After sweeping four critical Ivy games last weekend, which included two thrilling walk-offs in extra innings, the Yale baseball team entered Tuesday afternoon boasting a season-high five-game win streak. However, the Bulldogs (11–19–1, 6–2 Ivy) fell 7–0 to in-state foe Sacred Heart (14–13, 6–1 Northeast) in a contest marked by quiet Yale bats and a four-run Pioneer sixth-inning outburst.
“Obviously today wasn’t our best overall effort, but there were some good takeaways,” said captain and right-handed pitcher Chris Moates ’16, who was in the lineup as a designated hitter. “Tyler [Duncan ’18] pitched great, and [third baseman] Richard [Slenker ’17] and [center fielder] Tim [DeGraw ’19] both had strong games.”
Slenker and DeGraw led the Bulldogs with two hits apiece in the game, with DeGraw also reaching on a walk. The duo was responsible for four of Yale’s five hits as Sacred Heart’s left-handed pitcher James Taubl tossed five scoreless innings for the Pioneers to get the win.
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to strike first with two outs in the top of the second inning. A DeGraw single was followed by a double from first baseman Griffin Dey ’19, sending catcher Andrew Herrera ’17 to the dish with two runners in scoring position.
Taubl induced Herrera into grounding out to third, keeping Yale off the scoreboard in its best chance of the game. The Bulldogs managed to put a runner in scoring position just three times after the second frame.
“We were just a little flat and didn’t play as well as we should,” Slenker said.
Righty Benny Wanger ’19 made his fourth start on the mound for the Bulldogs, going a season-long 5.1 innings en route to his best outing of the year. After retiring nine of the first 12 Sacred Heart batters he faced, Wanger ran into some trouble in the fourth.
The Pioneers opened the frame with a double and run-scoring triple, followed by an RBI groundout to quickly snatch a 2–0 advantage. Sacred Heart opened the bottom of the sixth with another double, compounded by a walk, error and single in quick succession, pushing two more runs across.
Head coach John Stuper pulled Wanger after the freshman retired the next batter on a sacrifice bunt. Wanger’s final line included six runs, four earned, on eight hits allowed, in addition to four strikeouts.
Stuper turned to Sam Boies ’19, a lefty out of the pen, for his team-high 14th outing of the season. The freshman, whose ERA now sits at 5.54, allowed two inherited runners to score before finishing the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Sacred Heart led off a frame with a double for the third time, followed by an RBI single that forced Boies to turn the ball over to the right-handed Duncan with Yale trailing 7–0.
Duncan completed two scoreless innings, allowing just one batter to reach base in his 13th relief appearance of the season.
Sacred Heart, meanwhile, utilized four relief pitchers who all found success, allowing a combined two hits over the game’s final four innings. However, Yale did load the bases in the top of the ninth, before catcher Tom Fuller ’19 stepped up for his first at-bat of the game, and just his fourth of the season.
The freshman struck out swinging against right-handed pitcher Mike Lembo, who wound up punching out three batters in his sole inning of work.
“Today obviously didn’t go our way,” Fuller said. “But we’re very excited heading into the weekend against Harvard.”
The Bulldogs host their rival in the Red Rolfe division for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend.
Yale’s conference record currently matches Princeton for best in the Ivy League, but within their own division the Elis hold a significant upper hand heading into the weekend. The Bulldogs sit two games ahead of Dartmouth, three games ahead of Brown and four games ahead of Harvard.
“We’re looking forward to having a good three days of practice,” Moates said. “We couldn’t be more pumped to take on the Crimson this weekend.”
Yale’s four-game home weekend begins on Saturday at 1 p.m.