Ford Picks Up First Win Of The Season
KINGSTON, R.I. – On a cold and windy New England day, the Yale baseball team split a doubleheader with Rhode Island, beating the Rams 6-5 in game one, but falling, 4-0, in game two on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (4-4) and Rams (2-6) played in the bitter cold at Bill Beck Field, where the weather proved to be a factor all day. Low temperatures and gusting winds made playing increasingly difficult throughout the two games, especially for pitchers.
Both offenses struggled to produce runs, and any potentially game-changing hits to the outfield were mostly knocked down by the wind. In two games, both teams combined for only 19 hits. Yale was coming off an 18-hit performance in a win over Towson on Friday.
Eight solid innings on the mound from sophomore right-hander Chasen Ford (Lake Forest, Calif.) and three costly Rhode Island errors resulted in a 6-5 Bulldog win in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
Third baseman Richard Slenker (Pound Ridge, N.Y.) came up with the biggest hit of the game, lining a single to right and scoring catcher Andrew Herrera (Allendale, N.J.) to break a 5-5 tie in the top of the sixth and giving the Elis a permanent lead.
Slenker was 2-for-4 at the dish, recording his team-best eighth RBI of the season, while scoring two runs. Senior Green Campbell (Shreveport, La.) was also 2-for-4, leading the Yale offense, which produced only five hits in the game.
In his first winning effort of the season, Ford (1-1) struck out seven hitters over eight frames, while scattering four earned runs (five total) and seven hits in the nasty weather conditions on the URI campus.
Ford also limited the Rams' scoring chances, walking only two batters and forcing URI hitters to leave four runners on base. Gaining strength as the game went on, the second-year hurler posted three consecutive scoreless innings in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.
Freshman Mason Kukowski (Katy, Texas), in his fifth pitching appearance of the season, closed the door on the Rams in the ninth, putting URI down in order and earning his first save. For the final out, Kukowski miraculously snagged a groundball behind his back, robbing a single up the middle and ending the game.
Senior captain David Toups (Houston, Texas) laid down two key bunts, which wreaked havoc on the URI defense. His bunt in the third inning resulted in a close play at the plate, but Slenker managed to score when Rams' catcher Chase Livingston dropped the ball. Toups would later lay down a suicide squeeze, scoring Hsieh in the fifth and giving Yale a 5-4 lead.
Three URI errors proved costly, including a throwing error by third baseman Matt O'Neil in the first inning with the bases loaded, scoring Campbell and Slenker and giving the Elis a 2-0 lead. In the next at-bat, a wild pitch scored Hsieh and the Bulldogs finished the frame with three runs on only one hit.
The losing pitcher, Lou Distasio, relieved starter Steve Moyers after only two innings on the mound for URI. Distasio went six innings, letting up three runs on four hits while striking out five.
The second game was dominated by URI starter, Tyler Wilson, who pitched seven scoreless innings for the Rams, allowing only two hits, as the Bulldogs were blanked, 4-0.
The Yale lineup only produced three hits in the game, while racking up three defensive errors in the field, matching the Rams' mark from the first game. Freshman Drew Scott (Henrico, Va.) got his first collegiate start for the Bulldogs on the mound, picking up the loss.
Campbell, Slenker, and sophomore Harrison White (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) each had one hit in the loss. URI's Wilson did not allow a hit until Campbell smacked a single with one out in the sixth inning. Wilson surrendered only two hits in the game, striking out 10 Yale batters and walking only two.
Mike Corin had an RBI single for the Rams in the first, while Jordan Powell chipped in with two RBI groundouts to muster just enough offense against the Elis.
Scott allowed one run in each of the first four innings on the hill, but then settled down in the fifth, posting a scoreless inning. The freshman hurler was pulled after five, with very respectable numbers of three earned runs (four total), four hits, three strikeouts and four walks in his first collegiate start.
Senior Nate O'Leary (Manteca, Calif.) was solid in two scoreless innings of work for the Bulldogs in relief of Scott, not allowing a run or a hit while facing seven batters. Freshman Tyler Duncan (Newport Beach, Calif) pitched the eighth for Yale, allowing one hit in an otherwise perfect half-inning.
A problem for the Bulldogs was the inability to throw out runners attempting to steal bases. The Rams stole five bases on freshman catcher Alex Boos (Indianapolis, Ind.), who made his first career start. In the first three innings, URI stole three bases, with each runner eventually scoring.
A first-inning error by shortstop Derek Brown (Houston, Texas) also helped along the stagnant URI offense, resulting in a run after a sacrifice bunt, stolen base, and RBI single brought home Rams' centerfielder Mike Sherburne.
The Bulldogs return to the diamond on Tuesday to play Hartford at 3:30 p.m. The location of the game is still to be determined, depending on the condition of Yale Field.
Filed by Steve Lewis, Yale Sports Publicity