After opening with back-to-back losses to begin its season, the Yale baseball team earned a statement 9–0 victory over The Citadel to close out last weekend. The Bulldogs now hit the road again to the Mother of States to take on Old Dominion University.
The Elis’ (1–2, 0–0 Ivy) opening series was as eventful of a season opener as any, beginning with a close first game that saw a ninth inning Yale rally fall just short in a 4–3 loss. The Citadel took control in the second game to the tune of 10 runs scored, but the Elis were not going home without a win, shutting out the Citadel 9–0 to end the series on a high note. The Blue and White, now headed south for Virginia Beach, are set to take on Old Dominion (6–1, 0–0 C-USA) for the first time in program history. As their record suggests, the Monarchs have gotten off to a scorching-hot start and should prove to be a great early-season litmus test for the Bulldogs.
“Sunday was a big win for us,” catcher Jake Gehri ’22 said. “We had a good week of practice, rested up and are back on the road.”
Old Dominion, currently ranked as the nation’s 108th best DI program by RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), also posted a positive weekend. As of their last game, Old Dominion has slashed to the tune of a .258 batting average, .371 on-base percentage and .373 slugging. Meanwhile, the squad has held its opponents to numbers that pale in comparison: a .185 batting average, .272 on-base percentage and .256 slugging percentage.
In their most recent win against Virginia Commonwealth, the Monarchs found themselves in unfamiliar territory: trailing. Southpaw Tommy Gertner, after opening the game with two scoreless innings, handed the ball off to fellow pitcher Patrick Routsis who, in a third of an inning, gave up more runs than the Monarchs had conceded in four of their six prior games — three.
From there, it was a battle of the bullpens, as Old Dominion and the Rams rattled off scoreless inning after scoreless inning. By the time the top of the seventh rolled around, the Monarchs were intent on bringing an end to the scoring drought.
After infielder Matt Coutney worked a leadoff walk, utility player Andrea Dalatri hammered the ball over the left field fence for a two-run homer — the first of his career — cutting the deficit to a single run. Four batters, and a sacrifice fly later, and the Monarchs had tied the game before VCU knew what had hit it.
After blanking the Ram offense in the bottom of the inning, Old Dominion refused to let its collective foot of the gas pedal, stringing together an infield single and double to take a 4–3 lead. Two insurance runs in the top of the ninth was icing on the cake, as Monarch newcomer and closer Noah Dean threw a perfect ninth to close out the comeback 6–3 victory.
“I’d say we feel confident going into the week,” pitcher Quinn Cleary ’22 said. “This past weekend wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for overall, but we know if we keep sticking to our process of having good ABs, making good pitches, and making plays in the field, we’ll be fine, and this weekend should be no different.”
Yale has a lot to look forward to this weekend — in particular, the continued emergence of rookie third baseman Carson Swank ’23. The young infielder collected his first two multihit games and drove in the first run of his collegiate career. Swank also collected two stolen bases and boasted a perfect fielding percentage, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with whenever he is on the field.
Yale’s pitching will look to find success earlier in games. In two of the three matches last weekend, Yale gave up runs in the first inning. Neutralizing the opposing team’s top of the lineup is an important avenue to victory for the Bulldogs. Right-handed starting pitcher Ben Gibbs ’22 was one Eli that excelled at this task last weekend, posting a line of 6 inning pitched, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts enroute to his first win of the season.
The Monarch’s pitching staff is led by ace Nick Pantos, who has already tallied two wins in this young season — to go along with 19 strikeouts, he has not allowed a single run in the 12 total innings of work he has had. Anchoring the bullpen is right hander
Aaron Holiday, who has pitched to a 1.50 ERA in six innings of work.
The first pitch between Yale and Old Dominion is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday.
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