March 30, 2008
NEW YORK--The Yale baseball team went 1-3 in its first Ivy League weekend last season, all but ending its hopes for the Rolfe Division title almost immediately. The Bulldogs (8-15-1, 2-1-1 Ivy) did their best to make sure that wouldn't happen again this year, splitting a doubleheader with Columbia (7-15, 3-1 Ivy) at Andy Coakley Field on Sunday. Yale took the first game, 7-2, before Columbia came back to post a 6-5 victory in the nightcap.
The Bulldogs were in front from the get-go in game one, batting around in the first inning. Josh Cox got things started with a double to center and scored on Ryan Lavarnway's RBI single. After Stefan Schropp reached on an error, Jake Doyle knocked in Lavarnway with a single to center. Schropp scored on Trygg Larsson-Danforth's groundout, and Doyle came across when Davis Stanley singled to center.
That was more than Yale starter Chris Finneran needed. The Lions put seven runners on base in the first four innings, but each time Finneran emerged unscathed. He got two more runs of support in the top of the fourth when Lavarnway took advantage of Andy Coakley Field's quirky dimensions (it's deeper to left and right than to center field) with a two-run blast over the center field wall that made it 6-0.
Columbia finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Jason Banos led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a Henry Perkins single, and scored when Ron Williams grounded into a fielder's choice. The Bulldogs added a run in the top of the sixth when Gant Elmore belted a leadoff triple and scored on Cox's single through the left side. Columbia picked up an unearned run in the seventh to round out the scoring.
Finneran (1-2) gave up one run and five hits while striking out three and walking two in six innings to earn his first collegiate win. The Bulldogs had 11 hits in the game, with Lavarnway and Cox each collecting two hits. Lavarnway went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Columbia starter Dan Bracey (1-3) settled down after the rough first inning. Bracey surrendered seven runs (five earned) and 11 hits while striking out three and walking one in five innings. The Lions gathered five hits, with Perkins going 2-for-3.
It was the Lions who built the big early lead in game two. Columbia jumped in front 6-0 with one run in the third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth. Mike Malfettone scored the first run when he started the third inning with a triple, then came home on Nick Cox's sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Perkins belted a leadoff single and scored his team's second run on the back end of a double steal. Noah Cooper and Malfettone each knocked RBI singles to put the Lions in front 4-0. Columbia added two runs in the fifth after Nick Cox tripled and Perkins crushed a solo home run deep to left field.
The Bulldogs began their comeback with a three-spot in the top of the sixth. Elmore started the inning with a single and moved to third on Cox's double. Elmore scored on Dan Soltman's groundout and Lavarnway followed with an RBI single to left. Schropp walked and Doyle singled to load the bases with one out. Lavarnway scored to make it 6-3 on Chris Sweeney's sacrifice fly. Yale loaded the bases again with two out in the seventh, but Schropp popped to second to end the inning.
A two-out rally led to two more Yale runs in the eighth. Larsson-Danforth got the rally started with a pinch-hit single and Andy Megee followed with a single. Elmore and Cox each belted RBI singles to pull the Bulldogs within one at 6-5 before Soltman grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. The heart of the order came up in the ninth, but Clay Bartlett got Lavarnway, Schropp and Doyle all to ground out to preserve Columbia's 6-5 victory.
The Bulldogs had 11 more hits in game two, led by Cox's 3-for-5 effort. Cox went 5-for-9 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored in the doubleheader. Soltman went 2-for-5, while Elmore was 2-for-4. The 9-1-2 in the Yale lineup (Elmore, Cox and Soltman) went a combined 7-for-14 with three RBIs and two runs in game two.
Brandon Josselyn (1-3) lasted five innings for the Bulldogs, giving up six runs and seven hits with three strikeouts. Chris Walsh pitched the last three innings and yielded just one hit while striking out two.
Perkins, Cooper and Malfettone all had two hits for Columbia. Perkins went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Cooper was 2-for-4 and Malfettone went 2-for-3. As a team, the Lions had eight hits.
Bill Purdy (1-2) gave up five runs and nine hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in 7.2 innings. Bartlett came on with two down in the eighth and got out of the inning before retiring the side in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
Yale has one game remaining on its season-opening 25-game road trip. The Bulldogs visit Quinnipiac (5-10) on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Bobcats defeated the Bulldogs, 5-2, in the final of the Fall City Series at Yale Field in September.
Report filed by Joe Clifford, Yale Sports Publicity