HAMDEN, Conn. – The Yale baseball came back from deficits of 9-2, 13-9 and 16-14 on Wednesday afternoon at Quinnipiac, taking an 18-16 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. The host Bobcats, however, made the final comeback on a wild day in Hamden, Conn. as Brian Monack hit a walk-off three-run home run to give Quinnipiac a 19-18 victory. Junior Andrew Kolmar led Yale, going 3-for-3 with two home runs- including a grand slam- and seven RBI. He also walked three times to round out a huge day at the plate. Junior Andy Megee had four runs batted in, while junior Trey Rallis was 4-for-6 with three RBI.
The 18 runs scored for the Bulldogs were the most since the last time they played at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field- a 19-13 win on April 2, 2008. The 37 combined runs were the most in a Yale game since a 34-18 loss at Central Connecticut State on April 30, 1997. That game is also the last time a Yale team scored at least 18 runs and lost.
With the loss, Yale falls to 16-18-1 on the season. The Bobcats improve to 7-24.
In total, eight different players contributed to Yale's 17 hits. Additionally, junior Gant Elmore walked once and was hit by a pitch on three occasions to reach safely on four plate appearances without the benefit of a base hit. Elmore, junior Andrew Moore, sophomore Charlie Neil and freshman Chris Piwinski all picked up RBI for the Bulldogs.
In a scheduled “staff game”, senior right-hander Matthew Smith made the start for the Yale and allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits over the first 1.1 innings before junior left-hander Alex Young got the final two outs of the second frame. Sophomore right-hander Eric Shultz followed with the best pitching performance of the day, striking out four batters in two perfect innings out of the bullpen. Sophomore right-hander Greg Lyons allowed four runs on seven hits over the next two innings, and senior right-hander Robert Gruber pitched the seven and eighth frames and got the first two outs of the ninth, allowing five runs on four hits in that time. Megee (0-1) faced just one batter, surrendering the walk-off homer to Monack to take the loss.
Quinnipiac reliever Tim O'Sullivan (1-0), the sixth pitcher used by the Bobcats, threw 0.2 innings and got the win.
The Bobcats got on the board first with four runs in their first turn at-bat, highlighted by a Monack RBI single and three-run homer from Joe Poletsky. Yale then took two back as Kolmar answered with a two-run shot of his own.
The 4-2 advantage for the home team soon was extended to 9-2, as Quinnipiac touched up Smith for five more runs.
Yale started to make its move in the top of the third inning, beginning with a two-run single off the bat of Rallis. Moore would follow two batters later with a double to right centerfield, plating Rallis to bring the deficit to a more manageable 9-5 mark.
With Shultz silencing the Quinnipiac bats- including striking out the side in the fourth inning- Yale pulled even with the Bobcats in the top of the fifth. Rallis and senior Trygg Larsson-Danforth each singled to start the inning, and Moore then reached on an error to load the bases. A fielder's choice off the bat of Neil saw Rallis cut down at the plate, but kept the bags full for Kolmar, who deposited a grand slam well over the wall in left centerfield to tie the score at 9-9. Kolmar's second roundtripper of the day was also his fourth of the 2010 season.
The next four tallies went to the Bobcats courtesy of two runs in both the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. But a bases loaded situation in the top of the seventh inning once again turned into four runs for the Bulldogs. Neil was hit by a pitch to start the inning, followed by a Kolmar walk and a Piwinski single. After the home team recorded the first out of the frame, Elmore worked a bases-loaded walk to push Neil home with the Bulldogs' 10th run of the day. The next batter was Megee, who laced a line drive to right centerfield that rolled all the way to the wall, clearing the bases to improbably tie the score once again at 13-13. Yale would then take its first lead of the day at 14-13 as Megee raced home on a Rallis groundout.
Quinnipiac once again had an answer, as Ben Farina picked up an RBI single and Monack hit his first home run of the day to give the Bobcats a 16-14 edge.
A lead-off base runner again bore results in the top of the eighth inning with Moore singling up the middle to start the frame for the Elis. After the Yale left-fielder moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, Neil cashed in on the RBI opportunity with a base hit to left centerfield. Another wild pitch then moved Neil up 90 feet, and Kolmar followed with a single to deep left field that nearly got out for his third dinger of the day. A third Yale run would cross the plate, giving the lead back to the Bulldogs at 17-16, as Megee grounded to the shortstop to score Kolmar.
After Gruber put together a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Piwinski drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth frame to add an insurance run and give Yale an 18-16 advantage entering the final half-inning.
Gruber would induce a pop-up to Rallis to start the frame then walk Mike Bartlett in a long at-bat. The 6'7” submariner then got the second out via another infield pop-up. After Farina singled to bring the potential winning run to the plate, Gruber was lifted in favor of Megee. The first batter Megee faced was Monack, who took a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield wall for the game-winning three-run blast.
The Bulldogs will look to keep the bats hot this weekend, as Harvard visits historic Yale Field for a four-game series. The perennial rivals will play a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday and a noon twinbill on Sunday.
Highlights by David Dikranian:
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity