March 9, 2009
BALTIMORE, Md. - After a pair of losses on Sunday to open the 2009 season, the Yale baseball team bounced back Monday with a 17-11 victory over Maryland-Baltimore County. On a windy day at The Baseball Factory Field at UMBC, the Bulldogs got the best of the host Retrievers in a contest that featured 38 hits and seven home runs.
Two of those seven home runs came off of the bat of freshman Zach Tobolowsky. Tobolowsky, who hit his first career home run against Maryland-Baltimore County on Sunday, went 5-for-7 with four runs batted in. Junior designated hitter Trygg Larsson-Danforth also drove in four runs in a 3-for-6 performance. In total, eight Bulldogs had multi-hit games and four drove in two or more runs.
"I am very proud of this team right now," said John Stuper, the Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball. "We got beat pretty bad yesterday, and we could have just crumbled. But we came out with six runs in the first inning and battled all game long. [Assistant Coach] Tucker [Frawley] has done a great job with these hitters."
Tobolowsky started the game with a bang in the top of the first, smacking a lead-off home run to right field to give Yale an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore shortstop Gant Elmore followed up with a double off the walk in center field and was pushed to third by a Stefan Schropp groundout. Junior first baseman Chris Sweeney, the next batter, singled to plate Elmore and run the score to 2-0.
The lead was short lived, however, as Retreivers' first baseman Shawn Retz smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame to knot the score at 2-2. Maryland-Baltimore County would add four additional runs in the inning, including three on one swing from Bryan Russo, to jump out to a 6-2 lead after one inning.
The Elis bats caught fire as they reclaimed the lead with seven runs in the top of the third inning. Elmore and Schropp starting things off with back-to-back singles, and a fielding error pushed them both into scoring position with none out. Sweeney cashed in on the RBI opportunity, beating out a slow roller down the third base line that brought home Elmore. Sophomore third baseman Andy Megee followed up with a double to right center to plate Schropp and put two runners in scoring position again, still with no outs in the frame. Two batters later, junior designated hitter Trygg Larsson-Danforth roped a single to bring home Sweeney and Megee and tie the score at 6-6. After an infield single from sophomore left fielder Andrew Kolmar extended the inning, Tobolowsky connected on his second big fly of the day to give the Bulldogs a three-run advantage at 9-6.
The Retrievers once again responded in their half of the frame, as a lead-off home run by Max Himmelstein and a two-run shot by Russo quickly tied the score again at 9-9. Junior Robert Gruber came on in relief of starter Chris Finneran to close out the inning without allowing further damage.
In the top of the fourth inning, a two-out double from catcher Ryan Brenner turned into the Bulldogs' 10th run of the contest, as the freshman crossed the plate on a throwing error by Maryland-Baltimore County shortstop Rich Conlon.
For the second consecutive inning, Maryland Baltimore-County led off with a home run, as Retz's second round tripper of the game quickly erased the Yale lead. The Retreivers took the lead later in the frame as a sacrifice fly off of the bat of Sterling Sams plated Tom Meaney, who had doubled two batters earlier, made the score 11-10 in favor of the home team.
In the top of the fifth frame, it was Yale's turn to play catch-up, as consecutive doubles by Elmore and Schropp knotted the score at 11-11. After the Yale captain stole third, a throwing error by third baseman Dustin Ferguson on a ball of the bat of Megee plated Schropp and gave the Bulldogs the lead once again. Brenner followed up with his second two-bagger of the afternoon that brought Megee home and extended the Elis' lead. Larsson-Danforth followed up with the Bulldogs' fourth double of the inning to drive in Brenner and the cap the scoring with Yale now holding a 14-11 edge.
The Elis struck again in the top of the next frame. Tobolowsky started things off with a base hit and took second and third on consecutive wild pitches. Elmore then drew a walk, and Schropp reached on an infield hit that plated Tobolowsky. Retrievers' hurler Ryan Morse can on in relief and pitched out of the jam, but that damage had been done as Yale extended its lead to four runs at 15-11.
Maryland-Baltimore County started a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, putting runners on first and second with one down via a pair of singles. But Gruber battled back to strikeout Wink Nolan, and freshman Eric Shultz came on to retire Retz and end the threat.
The Bulldogs tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth to push the score to its eventual final of 17-11. Megee led off the inning, reaching second base on an error, and was sacrifice bunted over to third base by pinch hitter Davis Stanley. Larsson-Danforth singled Megee home, and was later driven in by a Matt Schmidt single.
Gruber allowed six hits and two earned runs over four innings of relief work to record his first win of the season. He struck out five batters and walked just one. Shultz recorded the final eight outs to notch his first career save. The freshman allowed just one batter to reach base.
"Kudos to our bullpen," said Stuper. "Gruber came on in a key situation with runners on in a small, extremely windy park, and shut them down. He Shultz were phenomenal."
David DeVita allowed 12 hits and nine earned runs in three innings of work for Maryland-Baltimore County. Michael Pesci came on in relief, allowing six runs (two earned) and eight hits in two innings to fall to 0-1.
The Elis, now 1-2 in the young 2009 season, will head to Davidson, N.C. for Tuesday and Wednesday contests with the Davidson Wildcats. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow and 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity