Strikeouts, Clutch Hits Key Sweep of Lions

April 9, 2005

Game 1 Box Score |  Game 2 Box Score |  Photo Gallery

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Behind two solid pitching efforts, including an 11-strikeout performance by Mike Mongiardini, and plenty of clutch hitting, the Yale baseball team swept Columbia 4-2 and 8-2 Saturday afternoon at Yale Field.

Mongiardini recorded eight of his first nine outs by strikeout in the second game after Alec Smith pitched six strong innings in Game 1, allowing just one earned run. The Eli pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts and just four walks on the day. The Bulldogs (12-10, 3-3 Ivy) drove in half of their runs in each game with two-out hits. Sophomore first baseman Marc Sawyer led Yale with a 4-for-7 day with two runs and an RBI.

"Good pitching always sets the tone," said head coach John Stuper. "What also sets the tone is clutch hitting, and we had a lot of big, two-out hits today."

"Back-to-back, this is the best we've played all year."

Game 1

Matt Stone broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out single over the head of the second baseman in the bottom of the fifth to plate Sawyer, who had doubled, with the winning run.

Yale tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. C.J. Orrico led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on Eric Rasmussen's second sacrifice bunt, and scored when Zac Bradley legged out a two-out double.

Smith (3-1) didn't need Orrico's run. He surrendered six hits and struck out three. Adam Barrick relieved him after the first batter reached in the seventh. When a ball hit the dirt in front of catcher Eric Rasmussen, the runner tried to advance, and Rasmussen threw out his second runner of the day. Barrick and Brett Rosenthal then induced ground-outs to the next two hitters to end the game.

Sawyer and Bradley each tallied two hits in the game. Columbia starter Billy Purdy struck out three and walked one, allowing three earned runs in a complete-game effort.

"This team is battle-tested," Stuper said. "We know how to play close games, and it was good to come out on top in this one."

Columbia's first two batters reached base in the first, but both were retired before getting to second. Leadoff hitter Ray Waters singled, but was picked off by Smith. The next batter reached on an errant throw, but Rasmussen was backing up and threw to Chris Esper, covering second, for the out.

Yale put up two runs before recording an out in its half of the first. Bradley and Justin Ankney started the inning with back-to-back singles. When the first baseman made an error on the next play, Bradley hustled around to score from second without the ball leaving the infield dirt. John Janco then doubed to deep right to score Ankney.

The Lions (3-21, 1-9) picked up a run in the top of the third on consecutive one-out doubles by Henry Perkins and Waters. The next batter, Craig Rodwogin, smashed a ball to the left side that could have scored Waters, but Stone made a diving stab at third. His throw was in the dirt, but Sawyer stretched out and made a nice pick-up for the out. Columbia tied it when Rodwogin scored Noah Cooper with a sixth-inning sac fly.

Game 2

Mongiardini (1-1) struck out three batters in the first inning, stranding runners at second and third, struck out two more in the second and mowed down three more in the third. He walked just one batter in his seven innings. The Lions still held a 1-0 lead on a second-inning homer by Val Miklausich until Yale notched three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth.

Sawyer ripped an opposite-field double with one out and came in on a Josh Zabar double off the wall in left center. Stone, the next batter, singled through the left side to plate Zabar. Stone moved to second on an Orrico groundout and scored on a single up the middle by Jake Doyle.

After Bradley stole second in the fifth, his ninth steal in as many tries this season, Sawyer drove him in with a two-out hit to make it 4-2.

Yale put the game out of reach with four sixth-inning scores. After Stone and Orrico walked, Doyle drove in Stone with a single, and Orrico scored on a Bradley sacrifice fly. Then, with two outs, Ankney hit a hard hopper that got between the first baseman and the line for a triple and two more two-out runs.

Zabar, Doyle and Sawyer each had a pair of hits for the Bulldogs, and Stone was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs.

Colin Ward-Henninger and Matt Fealey combined to allow one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings of relief. They struck out three, including two by Fealey for the final two outs of the game.

report by Casey Hart, Yale Sports Publicity

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