Bucknell Tops Bulldogs, 11-6

Gant Elmore (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Gant Elmore (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Yale baseball team continued its torrid offensive pace on Tuesday, pounding out 13 hits against Bucknell, but the red-hot Bison, who had scored 37 runs in their last two games, brought a bit more firepower to Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Fla. Despite three hits apiece for junior second baseman Gant Elmore and senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth, the Bulldogs dropped their final game at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational by a score of 11-6. Larsson-Danforth and sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner each drove in two runs for the Elis.

Yale, which had won its last two games in the Sunshine State, returns to New Haven with a 6-3-1 record. The Bison, who served as the home team in the neutral-site contest, improve to 8-6 with the victory.

“We were a bit flat against a good team,” said Mazzuto Family Head Coach John Stuper. “Maybe we were tired, but Ivy League weekends are long, and we need to learn to persevere.” The Bulldogs played 10 games in 10 days, all on the road or at a neutral site, to open the 2010 season.

Larsson-Danforth went 3-for-4 for the game with a home run, a double and two RBI. The roundtripper was his second of the season and his second in the last two games. Elmore was 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base. Brenner and junior shortstop Trey Rallis also had two hits apiece for Yale.

Senior right-hander Joe Castaldi (0-2) got the start on the mound and took the loss for Yale. The Bulldogs’ captain allowed 10 hits and five earned runs over the first 5.2 innings of the contest. He struck out three batters, walked one and hit one.

“Joe didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled all day,” said Stuper. Senior right-handers Chris Finneran and Matthew Smith, sophomore right-hander Eric Shultz, junior southpaw Alex Young, and senior righty Robert Gruber combined to toss the final 2.1 innings.

The Bulldogs got on the board first, as an Elmore single led-off a three-run first inning. Junior third baseman Andy Megee and Rallis followed with base-hits to load the bags with none out, and Larsson-Danforth made it four singles to the start the game with an RBI base-knock through the right side of the infield. A Brenner RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore centerfielder Zach Tobolowsky ran the score to 3-0 after one half-inning of play.

The Bison would tally a pair of their own in the first, however, as a single from Drew Constable plated two runs in the frame. Bucknell would then take the lead in the bottom of the third inning courtesy of a two-run homer by two-time All-Patriot Leaguer Ben Yoder.

A single by junior right fielder Andrew Kolmar started the fourth inning for the Bulldogs, and, after a sacrifice bunt by sophomore left fielder Charlie Neil moved Kolmar into scoring position, an Elmore single brought his classmate around to score the equalizing run.

After a B.J. LaRosa single promptly gave the lead back to Bucknell, Larsson-Danforth led off the top of the fifth inning with a towering blast to right field the knotted the score once again at 5-5.

The deadlock did not last, however, as Bob Donato hit a home run to lead off the sixth inning to give Bucknell a 6-5 lead that it would not relinquish. The Bison would tack on five more runs against the Yale bullpen to take an 11-5 cushion into the top of the ninth inning.

A Brenner single scored sophomore pinch-runner Matt Schmidt in the Bulldogs’ last chance at the plate, but Steve Carlin struck out the side in the frame to complete a five-out his save, his second of the season for Bucknell.

Jack Boehm got the start for the Bison, allowing 10 hits and five earned runs over the first four innings of play. Andrew Clarke (1-0) stifled the Bulldogs out of the Bucknell bullpen, surrendering just one hit in 3.1 innings of work to record the victory.

Despite the loss, Coach Stuper remains positive about his 2010 Bulldogs’ squad. “Overall this was a great trip,” said the 18-year veteran of the Yale dugout. The Elis swept at UMBC to open the annual spring excursion, and knocked off Army and Indiana, both NCAA Regional teams in 2009, leading up to today’s game.

The Bulldogs are back in action this weekend with a pair of noon doubleheaders at Hartford on Friday and Saturday. Opening day at Yale Field will be the following Saturday, as Yale hosts the New York Institute of Technology for a noon twinbill on March 27.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity