April 15, 2009

Yale Rallies to 11-Inning Victory in Doubleheader Split With Fairfield

April 15, 2009

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

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Coming off yesterday's doubleheader at Harvard, the Yale baseball team was already working overtime as the Fairfield Stags came to New Haven for a pair of seven inning contests on Wednesday. The Bulldogs and Stags, who also played on Tuesday, logged even more time than expected on the diamond, as game one of the twin bill went to 11 innings, with Yale notching a 4-3, walk-off victory. Fairfield edged the host Bulldogs in the night cap by a score of 7-6.

Yale now sits at 11-17 overall, while the Stags remain at .500 with a record of 15-15.

The Yale bullpen was the story in game one, as a trio of pitchers tossed 7.1 innings of hitless baseball to keep the Fairfield bats at bay as the Bulldogs stormed back from an early 3-0 deficit to claim the extra-inning win.

"Eric Shultz was outstanding today," said John Stuper, the Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball. "Our bullpen gave us a chance to win, and the offense came through."

Shultz, the Elis' freshman closer, pitched the final 4.2 innings of the 11-frame affair, allowing no hits, and just one total base runner, while striking out four Stags to earn the win.

Fairfield gained a lead with a three-run fourth inning in game one. Jason Rago delivered the big blow with a two-run home run, and Tucker Nathans knocked an RBI single to account of the third run. Nathan's single, however, would be the last hit that the Stags would get in the contest.

The Bulldogs began their climb back in the bottom of the fourth inning, as freshman second baseman Zach Tobolowsky started things off with a one-out single. Sophomore designated hitter Andy Megee followed with a double down the left field line that brought Tobolowsky all the way around to score, cutting the Fairfield lead to two runs at 3-1.

Sophomore center fielder Andrew Kolmar started off Yale's half of the fifth inning with a double down the left field line. Two batters later, freshman shortstop Matt Schmidt drew a one-out walk to put the tying run on base. Both baserunners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Fairfield starter Sam Robertson, and Kolmar scored while Schmidt advanced to third on another errant pitch from the right-hander. With two outs in the inning, Tobolowsky came through with the equalizing hit, a double to plate Schmidt and knot the score at 3-3.

Freshman Greg Lyons came on in the sixth frame and tossed a hitless 1.1 innings, before a walk with one out in the seventh caused Stuper to turn to his closer. Shultz came on and kept the Farifield offense stagnant, including a stretch of eight consecutive batters retired to bring the game to the bottom of the 11th inning.

Sophomore pinch hitter Gant Elmore drew a walk to start the inning, and sophomore right fielder Andrew Moore dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move him into scoring position. A balk moved Elmore 90 more feet to third base, and senior third baseman Stefan Schropp launched a deep fly ball to center field that allowed him to trot home as the winning run.

Shultz's 4.2 innings, the longest outing of his career, moved his record to 2-2. Freshman Pat Ludwig tossed three scoreless innings as the Bulldogs' starter in the contest. Brian Comiskey did not allow a hit in 0.2 innings for the Stags, but issued two walks and the game-winning sacrifice fly to fall to 0-1.

The Stags got on the board immediately in game two, again grabbing a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Nathans slapped a two-run double down the right field line to start the scoring, and Jason Rago singled to bring him home with the third run of the frame.

Yale answered back with authority in its half of the first inning. Schropp started the frame with a single, and Megee had a base hit up the middle to put runners on first and second. Junior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth followed with a base hit that scored Schropp and moved Megee to third. Freshman left fielder Charlie Neil then cleared the bases with a single to tie the score at 3-3. Yale would tack on another run as Moore drilled a double to deep right center that brought Neil all the way around to score.

The Bulldogs added a fifth run in the second inning, started off by a Schmidt single. The freshman shortstop stole second, and Schropp knocked him home with a single to right field.

The 5-3 advantage was short-lived, however, as the Stags knotted the score in the next half-inning. A Rago triple plated David Dudish, who reached on an infield single, and Rago would later race home to score on a passed ball. The Stags then grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth inning, courtesy of a Carmine DeVito groundball with left fielder Bill Rafferty on third base.

Fairfield added an insurance run in the sixth inning, as Nathans led off the frame with a triple. Matt Tiagwad then came through with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly that extended the visitors' lead to 7-5.

The insurance run proved to be very necessary, as senior catcher Davis Stanley and Schmidt were both hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Schropp then singled to load the bases with none out in the inning. Rick Piccirillo would induce a double play to get out of the jam, but the groundball allowed Stanley to cross home, running the score to 7-6.

Yale would get no closer, however, as Dan Gallagher came on to slam the door with a scoreless seventh inning. Doug Ciallella started the game for the Stags, lasting five innings to improve to 2-3. Gallagher earned his first save of the season.

Chris Finneran, one of five Yale pitchers to take the hill in game two, allowed one run on one hit and four walks in 2.0 innings to fall to 0-4.

"To get swept at Harvard yesterday, and then come back and fight all day today is something we can be proud of moving forward," said Stuper.

Ivy League play resumes this weekend as first-place Dartmouth (11-1) comes to the Elm City for noon doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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