BABSON PARK, Fl. – Yale beat Ave Maria 3-1 in a low-scoring, stormy affair Wednesday. The Bulldogs got five hits, and Ave Maria just three, each only scoring in the seventh inning.
The first pitch was initially scheduled for 2:00 PM EST, but sporadic downpours pushed the game back by an hour and a half. A strong wind blew in from center field for most of the game, keeping hard-hit balls within outfielders' reaches.
Yale starter Michael Coleman and Ave Maria pitcher Austin Munn traded scoreless frames back and forth for most of the game.
The first hit didn't come until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Ave Maria's Kolbe Andrade poked a single to right field, but was doubled up promptly in a 4-6-3 double play by Yale.
Yale got its first base hit in the top of the fifth, but wasn't able to convert the run. After Richard Slenker reached on an error, Robert Baldwin bunted him over to second. Nate Adams singled to left field, moving Slenker to third, as Slenker paused to see the ball through the infield. Jacob Hunter walked to load the bases, but the Bulldogs couldn't score the run, leaving the score 0-0.
Coleman continued with hitless fifth and sixth innings, and in the seventh, Yale finally broke the silence, tacking on three. Joe Bocchino relieved Munn, and opened the inning by hitting Slenker. Robert Baldwin singled to right, and Nate Adams sacrifice bunted the two to second and third. Eric Hsieh then lined a ball that tipped off of the third basemen's glove and into left field, scoring both runners. Hsieh moved to second on the late throw home that trailed Baldwin. Kevin Fortunato hit a deep double into left center, scoring Hsieh and making the score 3-0.
Coleman surrendered two singles and three ground balls in the bottom of the seventh, good for one run for Ave Maria to make the score 3-1.
Yale found itself in trouble in the eight, when an error allowed an Ave Maria runner on base. Coleman then walked two to load the bases, and was relieved by Cale Hanson. With the bases loaded and one out, Hanson got a ground ball to second basemen Nate Adams. Adams adeptly fielded a bad hop that popped up near his face, and turned the double play with shortstop Tom O'Neill to end the inning scorelessly.
Hanson shut down Ave Maria in the ninth, cementing the score at 3-1.
Head Coach John Stuper said he knew the weather would play a factor. "This was a hard earned win. With the wind blowing in as hard as it was, I knew there wouldn't be much offense," he said after the game.
He credited starter Michael Coleman with a great outing. Stuper said Coleman was "ahead of hitters all day. They are an aggressive team who hits early in the count. That means you have to make quality first pitches and Mike did."
The Bulldogs play next Friday at Stetson in the first of a three game series.
Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity