Pitcher Craig Breslow ’02 graduated before catcher Ryan Lavarnway ’09 first donned the blue and white, but the Bulldog battery finally teamed up at Yankees Stadium yesterday.
Although it lasted just two pitches, the Boston Red Sox fielded the first all-Yale battery in the Major Leagues since 1883 when Breslow entered the game with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth.
“I got a lot smarter having them out there,” Boston manager Bobby Valentine said after the game, according to ESPN.
After a first-pitch ball, Breslow induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of All Star second baseman Robinson Cano. The Red Sox held on to their lead and won 4-1 to improve to just 6–11 since Lavarnway and Breslow became teammates Aug. 1.
The victory was also the first time that two former Elis have played together on the winning side of a Major League game. Boston had lost all three previous games in which both Lavarnway and Breslow appeared.
The only other time two Yalies have played together on a Major League team was on Sept. 15, 1883, when pitcher Jack Jones ’83 and catcher Al Hubbard ’83 and the Philadelphia Athletics were routed 11-0 by Cincinnati. The franchise that would become the Boston Red Sox was not founded for another 18 years after that game.
Cincinnati Reds’ scout Donald Titus said he likes to watch Yale play because the team has a history of producing good pitchers. But on their way to repeating as City Series champions, the Bulldogs produced on both sides of the ball.
Not even a surprise appearance from New York Yankees all-star closer Mariano Rivera could steal the show from the Elis on Sunday as they defeated the University of New Haven 7-3 to win the championship the day after they knocked off Southern Connecticut State, 5-0. Rivera attended the series to watch his son, Mariano Jr., play for Quinnipiac University. The Bulldogs’ pitching staff dominated both games, allowing only three runs while striking out 19 batters in 18 innings of work.
Head Coach John Stuper and catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 said they were both impressed with the performance of freshmen pitchers Eric Hsieh ’15 and Ben Joseph ’15 in their collegiate debuts. Stuper, Brenner and Joseph all added that the freshman class will need to contribute in the spring, so the experience they gained in this fall series will prove to be important.
Hsieh pitched four innings of shut-out, one-hit baseball to start off Saturday’s game against SCSU. Joseph picked up the win in relief on Sunday against UNH by striking out three Chargers in two innings of work. Although Joseph received credit for the victory, he said he was not the lone hero on Sunday.
“It’s an awesome feeling to pick up the win, but I can’t take much credit,” Joseph said in an email to the News. “It was a perfect team victory.”
Among the heroes on the offensive side of the game was right fielder Josh Scharff ’13. Scharff was named the 2011 City Series Most Valuable Player after going 4-8 with a home-run, five runs batted-in and two runs-scored in the two games. Scharff hit a three-run double with two outs in the third inning on Sunday to take the lead 3-2, and his RBI double with two outs in the eighth put the Bulldogs ahead, where they would remain, 4-3.
Stuper and four players on the team said that the offensive success was spread throughout the team this weekend, with players getting clutch hits up and down the line-up. Stuper added that the team also put pressure on the defense by bunting the ball and stealing bases.
“Our coaches like to say, ‘We don’t hit, we play offense’,” Scharff explained in an email to the News. “Which means we take advantage of bunt situations, we steal bases and we put balls in play to put pressure on the defense.”
While Scharff said that superstition keeps him from making predictions for the team this year, both he, Stuper, and other players on the team said that they are excited to play on this team because it has an attitude of toughness and competitiveness.
The team opens its spring season on March 3 in Blacksburg, Virginia, where the Bulldogs will face-off against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The Yale baseball team was unable to build on its two game lead of Dartmouth in the Ivy League standings after splitting both of its doubleheaders against Harvard in Cambridge over the weekend.
The Elis (22–15, 10–6 Ivy) came out on top of the struggling Crimson (9–31, 5–11) in the first game on both Friday and Sunday, but were unable to sustain the momentum in either second game of the doubleheaders. Because Dartmouth swept Brown on Sunday, the Bulldogs remained just two games ahead of the Big Green in the Red Rolfe standings. Dartmouth has the chance to gain on the Elis when it plays Brown in another doubleheader today.
“It was disappointing,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said. “We still control our own destiny going into the last weekend but this isn’t what we wanted at all.”
Because of rain, the teams faced off on Friday and Sunday instead of Saturday and Sunday. Because of the change, Yale had to make the trip to Camrbidge twice.
“Well, it was a long weekend with traveling back and forth a few times,” pitcher Kevin Fortunato ’14 said. “In the end, we just ran out of gas.”
In the first game, the Bulldogs were quick to jump on the Crimson who had previously struggled to win games in the conference. The Elis scored three runs in the first inning and that was all it took for the team to secure the win, 3–0.
Senior hurler Vinny Lally ’11 pitched the entire seven-inning game and struck out nine Harvard batters and faced only 23 hitters.
The second contest of the day saw another game changing pitching performance, but this time it was Harvard’s ace, Max Perlman who struck out ten Yale hitters. The Crimson’s lone run in the fifth was all it took for them to secure the 1–0 win.
Yale’s Brook Hart ’11 had a strong game, allowing just six hits in eight innings worked, but he came up second best to the Crimson’s pitcher who had twice the number of strikeouts, 10, and allowed two fewer hits with four.
“Perlman is a solid pitcher with good command so he was making it tough for us,” Hart said. “It’s always disappointing when you lose but sometimes you just gotta tip your cap to the other guy on how well he played.”
The theme of the second day was strong hitting. In the first game, the Bulldogs scored a run in the second to take the lead. However, the Elis erupted in the fourth and fifth, scoring seven runs. The team conceded only one more run en route to its 8–1 victory.
Senior hitter Trey Rallis ’11 was clutch for the Elis. He went three-for-four and notched three runs for the Bulldogs and an RBI. Freshman Jacob Hunter ’14 has continued to be strong at the shortstop position and added two runs for Yale.
Yale had another big pitching performance from Chris O’Hare ’12, while Harvard had trouble at the pitching position. The Crimson rotated through four different pitchers in the game. Harvard starter Brent Suter allowed four runs in four innings before he was dispatched from duty.
In the nightcap, the Elis came up short and were unable to continue the momentum from the previous game.
“Baseball’s a game where any team can win on any day,” Lally said. “Their pitcher threw a great game Friday when they won and they swung the bats better in the fourth game. When they play a fundamentally sound game, they’re a better team than their record shows.”
While the two teams were separated by only one hit, the Crimson capitalized on their opportunities and scored ten runs from ten hits, taking the game 10–3.
Similar to Harvard in the first game, the Elis had five different pitchers on the mound. Fortunato, who finished the game on the mound, had a strong performance highlighted by five strikeouts in just over two innings pitched.
Rallis continued his hitting barrage and went four-for-four and was responsible for all three runs batted in for Yale. Cale Hanson ’14 made his impact felt with two hits and two runs.
“They battled really well today and took advantage of mistakes in the strike zone,” Pat Ludwig ’12 said after the game.
Ludwig, who was last week’s Ivy League Pitcher of the week for his strong performance against Dartmouth, struggled and allowed six runs in five innings pitched. Both Ludwig and Megee complimented the Harvard offense that was “smart at the plate.”
Yale will start reading week with a game on Tuesday against Holy Cross before returning to conference action this weekend against Brown to end its regular season.
The Yale baseball team (20–13, 8–4 Ivy) will hope to build on its four-game sweep of Dartmouth last weekend in back-to-back doubleheaders against Harvard (7–29, 3–9) this Friday and Sunday in Cambridge.
The Bulldogs moved into first place in the Red Rolfe Division with the wins last week over the Big Green and now control their own destiny for the league championship playoff spot.
“We need to treat Harvard the same way we treated Dartmouth,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said. “They have solid pitching. This is a team we should beat though.”
This year, the Crimson have struggled in conference play with a 3–9 Ivy record. Harvard started the season 1–14, but it has played stronger in recent weeks and will come into this weekend’s play having won three of its last five games.
“They’ve had some injuries they have had to fight through, but have gotten those guys back and are starting to play better,” pitcher Brook Hart ’11 said.
Harvard freshman Jack Colton has had a strong comeback since his back injury earlier in the season. He has a .395 batting average and was recently named Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
But other than Colton, no other player on the Crimson roster has a .300 batting average or better.
Max Perlman leads the Crimson pitching staff with a 2.03 ERA through 44.1 innings. Overall, the team is sixth in the Ivy League with a 6.29 ERA.
When Yale and Harvard met last year, the teams split the series, with Yale winning the second and fourth contests.
In the second game, hurler Vinny Lally ’11 worked seven innings and struck out six batters in the process. Infielder Trey Rallis ’11 sparked the Yale offense with a dominant three-run, two-RBI evening. Both of these players have been key in this year’s success as well. Lally has a 2.26 ERA through 55.2 innings worked. Rallis is having another big year and has a .333 batting average and three home runs this season.
“We need to keep throwing a lot of strikes and let our fielders work for us,” Hart said.
The first doubleheader begins at Harvard on Friday, while the second double header will be on Sunday.
After its best weekend of the year, the baseball team (20–13, 8–4 Ivy) had a midweek stumble, suffering a 10–2 defeat at the hands of Army on Wednesday.
The team traveled to West Point, N.Y., but was unable to find the form that carried it to five consecutive wins, four of which came against Ivy foe Dartmouth. The weekend sweep propelled the team into first place in the Red Rolfe division.
“Nothing was different today,” pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 said after Wednesday’s game. “A few guys struggled, which happens sometimes. It’s good that we got the struggles out of the way. Hopefully, they’re behind us.”
The Yale offense notched seven hits — the same number as Army. The difference came in the number of walks that each team allowed. Eli pitchers gave up 11 walks, while the Black Knights walked just two.
After Army struck with a run in the bottom on the first inning, freshman Cale Hanson ’14 led the charge to level the game at 1–1 after getting hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the third inning. He was able to advance to second on a passed ball and stole third on a wild pitch. Captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 then brought Hanson home on an RBI single.
But the momentum was short lived for the Bulldogs. The Army bats came alive in the bottom of the inning and the pitching difficulties added to the Bulldogs’ woes.
The Black Knights had only four hits in the third inning, but scored nine runs thanks, in part, to four walks.
“Pitching really struggled today,” Lally said. “We didn’t fill up the zone and that led to too many walks.”
Following the first two batters being walked, the Black Knights’ Clint Moore sent a ball over the fence and scored three runs off of pitcher Nolan Becker ’13. For Moore, that was his sixth home run on the season. He finished the inning with five RBIs on two hits.
Becker left the game following the Moore home run, but the pitching change made little difference. Alex Young ’11 and Greg Lyons ’12 gave up one and four runs, respectively.
In the top of the fourth, Yale strung together a few hits to inch the score closer, but were only able to cut the lead to 10–2. Gant Elmore ’11 drew a walk that brought Andrew Moore ’11 home. Elmore has continued to battle this season despite an injury he sustained in the comeback against UConn.
Both teams struggled to get a series of hits together and the game ended with Army winning by an eight-run margin, its second consecutive game with at least ten runs. Fortunately for the Elis, the contest was not a conference game and did not hurt their chances for an Ivy League title.
“[There’s] no such thing as a good loss, unfortunately,” Megee said. “It doesn’t really affect things one way or another. We’ll be extremely focused going into the weekend.”
The Elis will return to conference play with four contests against Harvard this weekend. The Crimson has struggled in Ivy play, but has challenged all of its Ancient Eight opponents this year.
“Harvard played some good teams and had a few injuries,” Lally concluded. “They took two from Brown, so we have to go in with the mindset we did with Dartmouth.”
After a mediocre start to the Ivy League season, the baseball team (20–12, 8–4 Ivy) has jumped into first place in the Red Rolfe Division. The Elis were named by collegebaseballinsider.com as the national “Team of the Week” for their exceptional run, which included a stunning comeback victory over instate rival UConn and then four consecutive conference wins over Dartmouth — the year after having gone 0–4 versus the Big Green. Success for the Bulldogs came as a result of their strong pitching performances, which limited Dartmouth to just three runs all weekend. One that stood out among the rest was Pat Ludwig’s ’12 showing on Sunday where the hurler struck out 12 batters in just over seven-and-two-thirds innings pitched. The News spoke with Ludwig about his impression of the season and what his hopes are for the remainder of it.
Q: How important was this past weekend for the team and its hopes for a chance at the Ivy League title?
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A: From the day the schedule came out, we knew that the Dartmouth series was the biggest weekend of the year to that point. By winning all four games, we have put ourselves in a very good position going forward.
Q: What got the team so fired up and ready to play? The team had none of the letup like before you’d split a series. Where did this intensity and focus come from?
A: Losing four games at Dartmouth [last year] proved as big of a motivation as any, but the stellar performances by our pitchers this weekend really carried us through the series.
Q: How does this past weekend rank among all the weekends you’ve played with the team so far?
A: This is the first weekend sweep that we have recorded in my three years here so it sits atop the list.
Q: Do you think such a strong performance puts more pressure on the team since you guys are now the leaders in the Red Rolfe division? Do you think more teams are now looking to upset you guys?
A: The games played within the division are always high pressure and involve some major baseball rivalries. In my three years, Dartmouth has been our biggest rival in baseball, but the series with Harvard and Brown are also major weekends during the season.
Q: You’ve had a great season so far. What did you do to train before the season?
A: Our season really starts as soon as we step on campus with a short, fall season as well as weight room sessions. Then, from October until February we have individual sessions with the coaches.
Q: How well has the team come together? More specifically, how important has the addition of the freshmen been for the team?
A: The camaraderie on this team is as good as it’s been in my three years here. We have a great group of seniors that bring everyone together. This year’s freshmen have done nothing but add to the positive environment in our clubhouse, bringing a great passion for the game every day.
Q: What makes the baseball season so challenging? Does the length of the season make it harder for teams?
A: The hardest part about the baseball season is how quickly it comes and goes. Unlike most of the other leagues in the country, the Ivy League is done when classes are done, meaning we only have five weeks of league play. This places a higher level of importance on each and every league game and the mental grind of playing four games in two days can take its toll.
Q: Do you think the team has changed its game plan significantly from the start of the season when things were not going as well?
A: I would say that we still go out with the same game plan, but we have improved in all facets of the game, which has led to our recent success.
Q: What are your hopes for the team going forward as the season draws to a close?
Our goals, from day one, have been to win our division and then win the league. From there, anything can happen.
Yale baseball now sits atop the Red Rolfe Division.
The Bulldogs (20–12, 8–4 Ivy) completed a four-game sweep of former division leader Dartmouth (18–10, 6–6) over the weekend, putting Yale in sole possession of first place. The Elis only allowed three runs in all four contests combined, while scoring 19 runs of its own.
“We expected to [win] going into the weekend,” pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 said. “We played the best baseball we’ve played all year in our biggest weekend so far.”
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Last year, the Big Green swept the series against the Bulldogs and extended its winning streak over Yale to seven consecutive games. Dartmouth was the superior team with a 21–8 run margin in the contests. This year would be different.
In the first game of the series, neither team was able to string together enough hits to score and the batters struggled to handle the other team’s hurlers. However, that soon changed in the fourth inning, when slugger Trey Rallis ’11 hit his third home run of the season. The Bulldogs scored another run before the inning came to an end.
With a 2–0 lead, the bats came alive for the Elis in the fifth inning. Cale Hanson ’14 started the onslaught with a single. The next batter, Rallis, brought Hanson home on an RBI double. Rallis then scored on a Ryan Brenner ’12 RBI single to give Yale a commanding 5–0 lead.
Lally had a dominant performance on the mound. He limited a strong Big Green offense to only three hits and struck out two batters en route to his fourth win of the season. He allowed Dartmouth to score only one run as Yale went on to win 6–1.
“There weren’t any areas where we didn’t get the job done this weekend,” Lally continued. “We’ve put everything together right when we needed to most.”
The Bulldogs continued their offensive assualt on the Big Green to start the afternoon contest.
Brenner brought in the first run of the game with a sacrifice flyout with the bases loaded. But the Big Green were fortunate to escape the first inning without another Yale score as third baseman and captain Andy Megee ‘11 was thrown out when he tried to steal home.
In the second inning, a Hanson single brought in two runs to give his team a 4–0 advantage — one they would not let go.
Brook Hart ’11, who is second on the team behind Lally with a 2.44 ERA this season, had another strong performance for Yale. The senior struck out seven Big Green batters and gave up only one run.
“I think it was just the first time we have put a complete weekend together of solid pitching, hitting and fielding,” Hart said. “It was really good. We all were pounding the box the whole time and finishing them off when we had the chance.”
Hart went 8.2 innings, before freshman Kevin Fortunato ’14 took his place with the bases loaded.
The freshman was not fazed by the pressure and struck out Dartmouth’s Jason Brooks to secure the win for the Bulldogs, 5–1.
“With our defense, I know I just have to throw strikes and they always take care of the rest,” Fortunato said after his second save as a Bulldog.
Returning to the field after a wet Saturday night, the Bulldogs had not cooled off. They struck as soon as play began with consecutive singles from Rallis and Megee. A Brenner RBI put Yale in the lead 1–0.
Yale scored two more runs in the game, in the fifth and sixth inning respectively. But, the key to success for the Elis was their defense. Pitcher Chris O’Hare ’12 led the charge with a four-hit shutout, including six strikeouts.
“The hardest thing was staying focused from game to game,” Megee said. “[But] our pitching was absolutely lights out. The best I’ve ever seen all of them. And we hit great when we had to.”
The Elis came through with another 5–1 win in the second contest. In that game, the Bulldogs turned to Pat Ludwig ’12 for the pitching endeavor. He struck out nine batters in the first five innings of play.
The Yale offense also was on fire to complete the last game of the series. Brenner had a three run home run in the third inning. Adding to the Big Green’s woes were strong showings from Megee and Hanson, who combined for five hits and two runs scored.
“Every single starter was so good,” Megee said. “Our offense was very balanced I thought.”
Fortunato returned to the mound in the ninth inning to seal another victory for the Bulldogs.
With the four victories, the Bulldogs moved two games ahead of Dartmouth for sole ownership of first place.
The Elis will return to play on Wednesday against Army in New York.
With 12 games remaining in the regular season for Ivy League play, the baseball team (16–12, 4–4 Ivy) trails Red Rolfe Division leader Dartmouth (18–6, 6–2) by two conference games. The teams will face each other in two doubleheaders this weekend and the four games could give the Elis a chance to move into the lead.
“This is our season pretty much,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ‘11 said. “Its like a college football season. Every weekend matters so much.”
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The Big Green are arguably the hottest team in the Ancient Eight right now with a six-game winning streak, including two wins last weekend over Princeton (12–15, 6–2), which is tied for top spot in the Lou Gehrig Division. Dartmouth has bounced back from dropping two consecutive games to Penn during the opening weekend.
Last year, Dartmouth took control of Yale in the series and did not allow the Elis to win a game. This year, the Big Green are led by Ennis Coble, who is hitting .420 on the season, and Chris O’Dowd, who leads the team with five home runs. Dartmouth pitchers Kyle Hunter and Kyle Hendricks lead the team with 2.12 ERAs each.
In the first game last season, the Big Green did not allow the Bulldogs to score a run and scored three of their own to secure a 3–0 victory. Junior Pat Ludwig d’12 did his best to keep Yale in the game on the mound. He struck 10 batters out in seven innings, but his effort alone could not win it for Yale who struggled at the plate.
“They don’t walk anybody,” Megee said. “Their walk rates are always the best in Division 1 baseball. They also hit well.”
The second game saw a strong performance from Andrew Kolmar ’11, who hit a home run and tripled for two RBIs. But the Bulldogs still fell short and lost 7–4.
The Big Green easily took the third game, winning 8–2. However, in the final game, Yale pushed Dartmouth to its limits but came one run short of victory. The Bulldogs had their first lead of the weekend in the fourth game, but a Dartmouth single in the 10th inning locked up the 3–2 victory.
“We have to hit well, pitch well and limit our mistakes,” Megee said. “If we sweep Dartmouth, we are absolutely in control of our own destiny.”
Kolmar sparked the comeback for the Bulldogs in their game against UConn on Tuesday. The Elis went on to win the thriller in 10–7 before play was stopped due to rain. Yale will hope to ride the momentum of defeating a strong Huskies team that the Bulldogs have not defeated since 2006.
The Bulldogs will continue to battle despite losing two players to injuries against UConn. Gant Elmore ’11 was hit in the face by a fastball and has many broken facial bones. Josh Scharff ’12 was hurt when he tried to slide home in the game against UConn.
“Gant’s plan is to play this weekend,” Megee said. “And [Scharff’s replacement, Hunter] has been playing well at short.”
Yale will need strong performances from Megee, who has a .316 hitting average, and freshman Jacob Hunter ’14, who has a .356 hitting average. Vinny Lally ’11 leads the pitching squad with a 2.45 ERA.
Play starts on Saturday at 12 p.m and the second game of the doubleheader is slated to begin at 3 p.m. The teams will take the field for another doubleheader at the same times on Sunday.
After falling behind 7–0, Yale’s baseball team (16–12, 4–4 Ivy) came storming back in the last two innings of play to defeat UConn 10–7.
The Huskies walked and hit multiple batters in those two innings, and Yale took full advantage with 10 unanswered runs for the victory. The game, which was shortened because of inclement weather, was the first time the Bulldogs beat the Huskies since 2006.
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“We got off to a pretty slow start and fell behind, but the team never gave up,” pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 said. “It’s a great win to get going into this weekend. We’re going into Dartmouth with some momentum.”
For the first six innings of play, the Elis were struggling at the plate and the UConn pitching staff did well to control a strong Bulldog offense that has scored more than four runs in more than half its games this season. Yale was unable to get a hit in the first three innings and was only able to scavenge two hits through the first six innings.
The Huskies, on the other hand, scored one or more runs in each of the first five innings.
But the momentum of the game changed when outfielder Andrew Kolmar ’11, who has recovered from a broken hand he suffered earlier in the season, came into the game to pinch-hit and sparked an unpredictable Yale comeback in the seventh inning with a three-run home run to get the team back to its scoring ways.
“For him to come back from his unjiry this quickly and to play as well as he has been is remarkable.” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said.
After that play, with a man on base, Megee hit an RBI double and the inning ended with Yale trailing 7–5.
In the eighth inning, the rain picked up, but that did not deter UConn from pushing for more runs. The Huskies had one runner in scoring position and another on base, but a pop-up ended the inning.
The Bulldogs continued their strong hitting at the bottom on the eighth. Kolmar again made his presence felt in the final inning of play when his RBI cut the UConn lead to just one run, the smallest deficit the team faced since the first inning of play.
A Husky error brought in the tying run and consecutive hit batters guaranteed the win for the Elis. Megee was then walked to bring in the 10th run of the game. That would be the final score of the game as competition was stopped because of rain.
“The bats came alive in the seventh and [UConn’s] pitching helped us in the eighth,” Lally said.
Although Yale came out with the victory, the Elis did not come out unscathed. Josh Scharff ’12 was injured when he was trying to slide home. Gant Elmore ’11 was hit in the face by a fastball that broke multiple facial bones.
Megee said that Elmore may be able to compete against Dartmouth for two pivotal Ivy League games. The Bulldogs are currently two games behind the Big Green, who stand in first in the Red Rolfe Division.
Freshmen, once again, played a key role in the Bulldogs’ success. Jacob Hunter ’14 and Cale Hanson ’14 combined for three hits and two runs. Pitcher Kevin Fortunato ’14 also got his second win of the season.
“Kevin [Fortunato] has been pitching so well,” Megee said. “Cale and Jake have been amazing all year. Coleman and Cerf kept us in the game.”
The Elis will play against Red Rolfe division leader Dartmouth this Saturday and Sunday in back-to-back doubleheaders.
The hopes of an Ancient Eight crown may be fading.
The baseball team (15–12, 4–4 Ivy) split both of its doubleheaders this weekend, putting itself two games behind first-place Dartmouth (17–6, 6–2), which has won its last five games. Yale dropped a marathon 10-inning first game against Penn (15–12, 6–2), 0–2, and bounced back with a 13–6 win in the afternoon. The Elis continued that form with a 6–3 win over Columbia (12–15, 3–5), but were unable to control the Lions in the second game, losing 1–8.
“It was tough,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said. “We easily could have won all four. But they just didn’t go our way.”
Coming into the weekend, Penn was riding the confidence of a 4–0 start to Ivy play. Both teams were solid at the mound; neither allowed a run until Yale finally conceded two runs in the tenth.
The Bulldogs, who have had a hot and cold performance at the plate this season, saw struggles from its top hitters, including big hitter Cale Hanson ’14, who went hitless in his three at bats.
“Penn’s pitcher was one of the better ones we have faced this year,” Hanson said. “He did a good job of keeping us off balance.”
Pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 started the first game on the mound and led Yale through the first nine scoreless innings. In the process, he allowed only four hits and struck out seven Quakers.
The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities. But their inability to score can be credited to the strong Penn defense, which refused to concede a run.
One of the best chances for the Elis to steal the win came in the eighth inning. Gant Elmore ’11 was tagged out at home as he tried to score from second base off a Kevin Fortunato ’14 single to left field.
The second game was a different story. The Yale offense erupted and never let up as the game progressed.
The Bulldogs scored five runs in the first inning alone. They then added two more runs in both the third and fourth innings. Another four runs in the next two innings in essence sealed the victory for the Elis, ending the Quaker’s five game winning streak.
Penn made a run late in the game, but was unable to find the momentum that had helped it defeat its previous Ivy opponents. After the loss, the team fell to 5–1 in conference play.
“The weekend was pretty disappointing,” Lally said. “A split doesn’t cut it.”
On Sunday, Yale continued its strong hitting to defeat Columbia 6–3. The Elis got off to another quick start in the game, scoring three runs in the second inning.
The duo of Jacob Hunter ’14 and Trey Rallis ’11 played a key role in the six total runs scored by the Bulldogs, combining for four hits and four runs.
Fortunato earned his first save of the year as he closed out the game on the mound and allowed only one run in 2.2 innings pitched.
“We have a great defense and [the team] took care of me,” Fortunato said.
The Lions tried to spark a comeback late in the game and succeeded in scoring three runs in the fifth and sixth innings. But they were unable to score again and finally lost, 6–3.
The second game was notably different for the Bulldogs who struggled to score runs and keep the Lions off the board.
Brook Hart ’11, who celebrated his 22nd birthday Sunday, came into the weekend with a 1.95 ERA through 32.1 innings pitched but struggled at the mound and allowed 10 hits and five runs.
“I think it just came down to executing when the opportunity is there,” Hart said.
Hanson scored the lone run for the Bulldogs in the sixth inning, but Yale was unable to rally behind the effort, falling to the Lions, 8–1.
The team will face UConn on Tuesday and Fairfield University on Wednesday before returning to Ivy play with four games against Dartmouth this weekend.
“It’s going to come down to next weekend against Dartmouth,” Lally said. “We’re still in control of our own destiny.”
The baseball team (13–10, 2–2 Ivy) will hope to carry the momentum from its 3–2 victory over Sacred Heart (12–14) on Wednesday into this weekend’s Ancient Eight contests against Penn (13–10, 4–0) and Columbia (11–12, 2–2). The Quakers and the Lions finished at the top of the Lou Gehrig Division last year, and Penn is currently undefeated in conference play.
“We didn’t need motivation for this weekend,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said after the win against Sacred Heart. “We owe these guys from last year.”
Last season, the Bulldogs began the Ivy season 0–4 as a result of dropping two games against Columbia and then two games against Penn. That poor start to conference play ultimately hurt the Elis going forward in the season.
“It honestly devastated us,” Megee admitted. “It ruined our season. In Ivy league baseball, due to the weather and other factors, you work for 11 months and for a one-month season. When we lost those games, everything we had done to that point became basically meaningless. It put us in an extremely difficult position.”
The contests against Columbia were close. The first game last season went to extra innings, but the Lions scored two runs in the pivotal eighth, winning 5–3. The Bulldogs did not fare better in the evening game as they dropped it 5–4.
Megee, then a junior, had a strong showing in the games against Columbia despite the losses. He notched six RBIs and went four-for-eight, including a home run. This year, he is one of the top hitters on the team with a .327 batting average, 32 hits and 18 RBIs on the season. Brook Hart ’11 has gotten off to a strong start with a 1.95 ERA through 32.1 innings pitched.
The Lions offense will be led by Nick Cox and Dario Pizzano who have .409 and .405 batting averages, respectively.
The Bulldogs will also have to overcome a Dartmouth team that boasts a powerful bullpen. Big Green pitchers Stefan Olson and Harrison Slutsky both have ERAs less than 1.75.
“Columbia’s been good since I’ve been here,” Megee said. “They play really solid fundamental baseball. They hit and pitch very well.”
Penn had an easier time with the Bulldogs than Columbia last year. The Quakers defeated the Bulldogs in the first game 5–2 and went on an offensive storm to capture the second game easily, 12–4.
The Quakers are led by Jeremy Maas, who has a .424 hitting average and 18 RBIs to date. Vince Voiro and Paul Cusick, who have combined to pitch 71.2 innings, both have ERAs under 3.
“Penn is a pretty standard Ivy League team,” Megee said. “They’ve done well so far so we need to halt their momentum.”
The Bulldogs’ doubleheader against Penn is set to begin Saturday at noon. The Elis will then return to action against Columbia on Sunday in another doubleheader that is also slated for a noon start.