WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Yale couldn't hold off a ninth inning rally from LIU Brooklyn Sunday, dropping the first game of the RussMatt Invitational by a score of 10-7. Eric Hsieh, Jacob Hunter, and Robert Baldwin each contributed two hits in the high-scoring contest.
LIU jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, aided by a wild pitch and an error in the first inning of play. After Yale was shut out in the bottom half, the Blackbirds added two more in the second inning off a deep double to center field off the bat of Pete Leonello.
The Bulldogs would answer in the bottom half, however. Kevin Fortunato blasted a double to left field to lead off the inning, was moved to third on a solid sacrifice fly from Brent Lawson, and scored on an infield sacrifice ground ball by Cale Hanson to make the score 4-1.
The scoring continued without a pause in the third inning. LIU's Mark Hernandez and Bobby Webb each connected for doubles to open the inning, hinting at another multi-run inning. But Green Campbell made a clutch two-out diving catch in center to save a run and strand two runners.
In the bottom of the third, the Yale squad answered once again. Robert Baldwin led off with a double down the third base line, and Nate Adams walked to put two on with none out. A difficult chopper to the second basemen led to an errant throw into left field, plating Baldwin and allowing Adams and Hsieh to move to third and second, respectively. Jacob Hunter flied out to center to score Adams, cutting the LIU lead to 5-3.
Both sides were scoreless until the sixth inning, when Michael Coleman relieved Lanham. Leonello walked, stole second, and was knocked in by a double from Jon McAllister to extend the lead to 6-3.
Once again, the Elis fought back, but not without some help from the LIU defense. Richard Slenker walked, Baldwin singled, and Hsieh walked to load the bases with two outs. Jacob Hunter's ground ball looked to end the inning, but a wild throw from the shortstop to second base sailed deep into right field, scoring all three runners and leaving Hunter on third base, tying the score at 6.
The score stayed still until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Hunter laced a 1-1 fastball through the four hole to score Adams and take a 7-6 lead.
The Bulldogs relinquished their lead for good in the ninth. Hanson came in to pitch, allowing two weak singled to open the innings. Kevin Needham added another of his own to tie the game at 7. LIU added another on a fielder's choice that couldn't quite be turned into a double play by shortstop Tom O'Neill and Adams at second. Adding to the damage, McAllister hit a hard ground ball up the middle that was knocked down by Adams but enough to score two runs.
The Bulldogs couldn't muster a last answer in the bottom of the ninth, ending the game at a score of 10-7.
The Bulldogs look to bounce back Monday against Bucknell in their second game at the RussMatt Invitational.
Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity