March 8, 2009
BALTIMORE, Md. - After inclement weather postponed the Yale baseball team's original season opener, the Bulldogs headed south to Baltimore, Md., where the weather was much warmer. However, Yale also ran into two sets of red-hot bats on Sunday afternoon, as Wagner and Maryland-Baltimore County knocked off the Bulldogs by scores of 16-3 and 15-2. With the pair of losses, the Elis began 2009 at 0-2.
Sophomores Gant Elmore and Andy Megee, along with freshman Zach Tobolowsky, each contributed two hits for Yale on the afternoon. Elmore also swiped two bases, both against Maryland-Baltimore County, while Tobolowsky belted his first career home run against the Retrievers.
The Bulldogs' afternoon was defined by big innings, as both Wagner and Maryland-Baltimore County notched 11 runs in an early frame and coasted the rest of the way.
"I've never seen two 11-run innings in back-to-back games," said John Stuper, Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball at Yale. "And I hope I never do again."
In the first game, Wagner put together an 11-run second inning, highlighted by a Vin Avella grand slam, to quickly distance itself from the Bulldogs. The Seahawks also benefited from five unearned runs in the frame that chased Yale starter Brandon Josselyn from the game after recording just five outs. Freshman Greg Lyons came on in relief of Josselyn and, after surrendering hits to the first three batters he faced, settled down to retire the next seven. In total, Lyons hurled 4.1 innings in his collegiate debut, giving up seven hits and one earned run while striking out two and not walking a batter.
The Yale offense finally got through to Wagner pitcher Matt Watson in the fourth inning, after the hurler had allowed just one runner to reach base in the first three frames while his offense built a comfortable 11-0 lead. Junior first baseman Chris Sweeney started the hitting with a one-out single, and sophomore right fielder Andrew Moore was then hit by a pitch to advance him to second. After a groundout by junior designated hitter Trygg Larrson-Danforth moved both runners into scoring position, senior catcher Davis Stanley roped a double to right field to drive them both home and put the Bulldogs on the board.
After the Seahawks tacked another run onto its lead in the top of the fifth, courtesy of a Seth Boyd double, the Bulldogs posted a run in the bottom of the frame. Megee drew a one-out walk to start the offense, and a base hit by Elmore pushed him into scoring position. Senior captain Stefan Schropp was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a groundout by Sweeney produced the third Yale run of the afternoon.
Three runs was all that Yale would push across against Wagner pitching, however, as the Bulldogs managed just one hit off of the Seahawks' bullpen over the final four innings. Wagner plated four more runs in the top of the ninth before closer Andrew Huebner finished the job with a perfect bottom of the inning to give the Seahawks a 16-3 victory.
Wagner, which has now outscored its opponents 42-5 in its last three games, improved to 3-2 with the victory. Watson allowed four hits and three earned runs over five innings of work to earn the victory in his season debut. Josselyn surrendered five earned runs in 1.2 innings to fall to 0-1 for Yale.
The Bulldogs showed signs of life in the nightcap against hosts Maryland-Baltimore County, as Schropp smacked a base hit to drive in Elmore, who had walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and give Yale a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The Retrievers responded in a big way in the bottom half of the frame, as their first seven batters reached safely en route to an 11-run inning. The first eight runs of the inning were manufactured slowly, as Maryland-Baltimore County added just one extra base hit in between its early barrage of singles. However, the big blow in the inning, was a three-run home run from Shawn Retz that topped the score off at 11-1.
The Retrievers added two runs in the third and two more in the sixth inning to push the score to 15-1. Tobolowsky's first career round-tripper, a solo shot, put a small dent in Maryland-Baltimore County's lead, but the Bulldogs would get no closer as the home team closed out a 15-2 victory.
Marty Zawacki scattered three hits and allowed one earned run over the first five innings to pick up the win in his first appearance of the season. Steve Miller tossed the final four innings, allowing two hits and one earned run, to notch his first save of 2009. Sophomore Vinny Lally made the start and took the loss for Yale, surrendering 10 earned runs in 0.1 innings of work.
"We didn't do anything particularly well today," said Stuper, "but I have every confidence that we will improve."
One of the bright spots for Yale on the day was the contribution of four pitchers in their Bulldog debuts. Alongside Lyons' relief effort against Wagner were solid performances from sophomore Alex Young and freshmen Pat Ludwig and Eric Shultz in game two. Young and Shultz each tossed a perfect inning of relief to close out the contest, while Ludwig overcame early troubles to strikeout four batters in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen.
The Elis will look to bounce back tomorrow as Maryland-Baltimore County plays host once again for a single, nine-inning affair. Please note that game time from The Baseball Factory Field at UMBC has been changed to 2 p.m.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity