April 17, 2011

O'Hare, Ludwig Hurl Gems To Lift Yale Into First Place In Rolfe Division

O'Hare Hurls Four-Hit Shutout; Ludwig K's 12 In Game 2 To Complete Four-Game Sweep

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University baseball team entered the weekend two games out of first place In the Ivy League's Red Rolfe Division. Thanks to dominant pitching from all four starting pitchers, the Bulldogs ended the weekend all alone in first place after a four-game sweep of two-time defending Ivy League champion Dartmouth.

Sophomore hurler Christopher O'Hare threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout, striking out six and walking only two in leading Yale to a 3-0 victory in the opening game of Sunday's doubleheader at historic Yale Field. Junior pitcher Pat Ludwig was even better in the second game, striking out 12 Big Green batters over 7 innings to lead Yale to a 5-1 victory to complete the sweep of the four-game series.

Yale swept a doubleheader from Dartmouth on Saturday, winning the games 6-1 and 5-1 behind the pitching of seniors Vinny Lally (Game 1) and Brook Hart (Game 2). In the four games, Yale pitchers held Dartmouth to a total of three runs on 24 hits while striking out a total of 31 Big Green batters.

After Sunday's sweep, Yale improves to 20-12 overall, 8-4 in the Ivy League. Dartmouth falls to 18-10 overall, 6-6 in Ivy League play. After Harvard swept a doubleheader from Brown on Sunday, Yale is now two games ahead of both Dartmouth and Brown in the Rolfe Division standings with eight Ivy League games remaining.

In Game 1, the Yale bats put Dartmouth on its heels right away as three straight two-out singles by Trey Rallis, Andy Megee and an RBI hit from Ryan Brenner put Yale ahead 1-0.

That lead stood until the fifth inning when Cam Squires belted an RBI triple to left-center field that scored pinch runner Matt Schmidt to give Yale a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs struck again in the sixth inning when Brenner reached on a bunt single with two outs. Jacob Hunter then belted a double to left-center field to score Brenner with the final run of the game.

That was more than enough for O'Hare, who kept the Big Green bats off-balance from start to finish. He allowed only six base runners in the entire game and kept Dartmouth off the bases completely in three of the seven innings.

As good as O'Hare was, Ludwig proved to be even better. He had nine strikeouts through the first five innings after he struck out the side in the fifth inning. In the eight innings in which he worked, he had at least one strikeout in every inning.

His only blemish came in the eighth inning when Joe Sclafani led off the inning with a triple to the right-field wall and scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Sam Bean in the next at-bat. Ludwig struck out Chris O'Dowd for the second out of the inning but he gave up a two-out single to Jason Brooks that ended his outing. Rob Cerfolio entered the game in relief and forced Ennis Coble to ground out to the pitcher to end the threat.

Kevin Fortunato pitched the ninth for the Bulldogs and struck out the side to end the game and secure the four-game sweep.

Offensively, the Bulldogs put the game out of reach with a five-run outburst in the third inning in which they sent 11 batters to the plate. Brenner had the big hit in the inning when he belted a three-run home run off of the light pole in left field that put Yale on top 5-0. Incredibly, the first two batters of the inning recorded outs, but the Big Green could not get the third out in time to stop the damage from the Bulldogs' bats.

Megee sparked the Bulldogs's offense with a 3-for-4 showing with a run scored. Cale Hanson went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, but Brenner provided the biggest punch with his third-inning blast.

Brenner finished the day with a total of three hits in seven at-bats with four RBIs and two runs scored.

After the four victories this weekend, the Bulldogs have now won five in a row and eight of their last 10 games.

They will look to extend that winning streak on Wednesday when they travel to West Point, N.Y., to take on Army. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play eight of their final 10 games of the regular season away from the comforts of Yale Field.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity