Courtesy of Yale Athletics

The Yale baseball team (14–10, 5–4 Ivy) suffered its first home losses of the season last weekend as it hosted Dartmouth (12–13, 5–4) for a three-game series. The two squads are now tied at fourth place in the Ivy League standings.

The Bulldogs played a doubleheader on Saturday and had a challenging start, dropping the first game against the New Hampshire team 14–4. While the Blue and White were able to rally offensively and defeat the Big Green 5–1 in the second game of the day, the team was unable to carry its momentum into the series finale, losing their third game against Dartmouth 11–4. This is the second consecutive conference series loss for the Yale baseball team after falling to Cornell the prior weekend. 

“Generally, it was just very disappointing,” right-handed pitcher Carter Kessinger ’23 said about last weekend. “We go into every series with the goal to sweep our opponent, play hard and [win] games [to improve] in the Ivy League standings, and we just didn’t do that. There were a lot of things we just didn’t do. We are a good team … and ultimately we control our destiny in the Ivy League. We need to stick with our process and the winds will come.”

In the first Saturday game, starting pitcher Michael Walsh ’23 was aggressive on the mound, striking out nine over six frames. However, he lacked his usual command and gave up 10 runs and 10 hits in the process, including two home runs. Walsh also hit two batters and walked five in the outing in his first loss of the season. 

Dartmouth struck early in the match-up, as the line-up notched up three singles and a double to score three runs in the top of the first inning. Though Yale would retaliate in the next frame with an RBI-single from center fielder AJ Gaich ’23, the Big Green extended their lead by bringing in six more runs in the second, third and fourth innings. The fifth inning was the only frame where Dartmouth didn’t score, as the visiting team would score four more runs between the sixth and ninth. By contrast, the Bulldogs were able to score three more runs by the sixth inning, but were shut out for the rest of the game.

“It was a very interesting series because in all three games, we were scoring four or five runs in each of the games,” catcher Jake Gehri ’22 said. “Usually, that’s been enough [to win] in the past. It was frustrating because it seems like we hit the ball right at them multiple times. Every time they would hit the ball, it would find a hole and they’d have a base runner.”

Despite the difficult loss, the Elis showed their grit as they bounced back in the second game of the doubleheader. While the Big Green were shut out during the first six innings, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first with a RBI sacrifice fly by right fielder Jimmy Chatfield ’24. Yale continued to extend its lead with a three-run third inning and a leadoff solo bomb by captain Mason LaPlante ’22 in the fourth frame. 

Dartmouth was able to score a run with a sacrifice fly of their own in the seventh inning, but was unable to rally against Yale starter Grant Kipp ’22, who was brilliant on the mound. The right-hander from Dallas, Texas pitched a complete game and made quick work of the opposing line-up by accomplishing the feat with just 72 pitches. Kipp had four 1–2–3 innings, struck out seven batters and only allowed three hits in the entire game.

“With each outing, I’m getting better and better,” Kipp told the News. “I always personally have to be in the mindset of ‘There’s something for me to learn from. There’s something that I want to improve.’ What was different for me about the start [against Dartmouth] was realizing where I should be at mentally, what it feels like when things are going well and just trying to capture that feeling going forward.”

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to fuel their momentum to clinch both the rubber match and the series win the next day. Starting pitcher and two-way player Colton Shaw ’25 was unable to make it through an inning, giving up five runs before he was subbed out in the top of the first frame. Five additional hurlers were sent out from the bullpen in an attempt to alleviate the situation, but the Big Green offensive onslaught continued. Dartmouth made 10 more hits and scored six additional runs.

The Elis attempted to retaliate and rally back, but fell short. Left fielder Ben Metzner ’23 put Yale on the board with an RBI-double in the fourth inning, while Teddy Hague ’21 GRD ’22 went yard with a two-run blast. Gehri, the team’s homerun leader, also showed his power and sent a solo bomb to left field. However, their individual performances and the team’s combined nine hits were not enough to propel the Blue and White to the win. 

The Bulldogs will now turn their attention to Brown (6–17, 2–7), the next opponent of the season. Yale will host the Bears this weekend for a three-game match-up that will consist of a Saturday doubleheader and a Sunday finale. The team from Rhode Island was most recently swept by Columbia in a three-game series, but had won two individual games against Holy Cross and Harvard before the encounter against the Lions. 

“We are obviously going to work a lot in practice this week,” Kessinger said. “We are going to work on our hitting and our pitching … There’s always something we can do better. What will be key for us this weekend is winning that first game, [setting] the tone for the weekend and then [finishing] out the series and [winning] the rest of the games.”

As a result of his stellar performance and his third win of the season on Saturday, Kipp was awarded this week’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Week recognition.

Wei-Ting Shih covers baseball, volleyball and women's basketball as a staff reporter. Originally from Taiwan and Nicaragua, she is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College double-majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics and History.