Lanham, Herrera Shine In Bulldogs' Victory
FAIRFAX, Va. – In the Yale baseball team's most complete effort of the season to date, the Bulldogs utilized a seven-run, five-hit fifth inning, mixed with six strong innings by starting pitcher Chris Lanham, to blow past George Mason on Thursday afternoon, 9-2.
Picking up their second win of the program's 150th season, the Bulldogs (2-3) knocked around the Patriots' pitchers all afternoon, racking up nine runs on 12 hits, while also leaving 12 other runners on base.
"It was our best effort so far this season," said Yale head coach John Stuper. "After all the ridiculous scores we've had, it's nice to return to a bit of normalcy."
Lanham (Houston, Texas) picked up his first win of the season, scattering two earned runs and six hits while striking out five. The Yale ace worked well with sophomore catcher Andrew Herrera (Allendale, N.J.), working out of several early jams to limit George Mason's offensive output.
Herrera led the Bulldogs at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk in only his second start of the young season. His biggest impact came in the fifth inning when with the bases loaded and one out, the sophomore smacked a two-run double to the warning track in left-center field as part of a seven-run inning.
Freshman Tom Ruddy (Sparta, N.J.) contributed two hits and two RBI as well, boosting his batting average to .308 in the process. Senior outfielder David Toups (Houston, Texas) also had a good day swinging the bat, going 2-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.
With sophomore Derek Brown (Houston, Texas) included, the bottom four hitters in the Yale lineup combined to go 7-for-15 with six RBI and six runs scored in the win.
Freshmen pitchers Drew Scott (Henrico, Va.) and Mason Kukowski (Katy, Texas) combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Lanham, proving there to be depth in the Bulldogs' bullpen. In four appearances on the mound this season, Kukowski is yet to allow a run.
With the game tied at one heading into the top half of the fifth, senior Green Campbell (Shreveport, La.) reached on an error, followed by singles from sophomores Richard Slenker (Pound Ridge, N.Y.) and Harrison White (Laguna Niguel, Calif.). Brown drew a walk with the bases loaded to break the tie.
An RBI single to left field by Toups, followed by the long, two-run double by Herrera put the Elis in control with a four-run lead. Ruddy chipped in with an infield RBI single in the next at-bat, making it his second of the day after his RBI single in the second inning gave the Elis a 1-0 lead.
Two errors in the inning proved costly for the Patriots, especially the second. A throwing error by third baseman Kent Blackstone allowed Herrera to score from third and Ruddy from second, completing the seven-run assault.
As the Bulldogs scored runs, Lanham kept working. He managed to strand six runners on base, while throwing 105 pitches in his second outing of the season.
"Lanham did not have his best stuff or his best command today, but boy, did he battle," said Stuper. "Six innings and only two runs. He kept us in the game until we put up a seven-spot."
Scott would pitch two scoreless innings for the Bulldogs out of the bullpen, working himself out of a jam in the seventh. The Patriots had two runners on and no outs, but Scott, with the help of an amazing catch by the speedy Campbell in center field, worked out of trouble.
Kukowski came in for the ninth, needing only four batters to close-out the game. Herrera was also strong defensively for the Elis behind the plate, making several stops of pitches in the dirt.
The Bulldogs return to action on Friday afternoon to play Towson in Maryland. First pitch is at 3 p.m. and junior righty Chris Moates is expected to take the hill against the Tigers.
Filed by Steve Lewis, Yale Sports Publicity