March 7, 2010

Bulldogs Pile Up 18 Runs in Doubleheader Sweep of UMBC

BALTIMORE, Md. – The Yale baseball team got three RBI from four different players and solid pitching in all 16 innings of the season-opening doubleheader at Maryland-Baltimore County en route to sweeping the host Retrievers by scores of 7-3 and 11-3. Junior outfielder Andrew Kolmar led the Yale offense, going 5-for-7 with a double, three RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. Junior Brook Hart and sophomore Pat Ludwig each worked five innings as the Bulldogs’ starters and earned the victories on the mound.

“It was a good way to start the season,” said Mazzuto Family Head Coach John Stuper. “We did well in all three phases of the game: pitching, fielding and swinging the bat.”

In addition to Kolmar’s big day at the plate, sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner hit a three-run home run, while junior third baseman Andy Megee and senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth each had two hits and three runs batted in. Megee also stole three bases and scored a pair of runs. Junior second baseman Gant Elmore and sophomore outfielder Zach Tobolowsky each had three hits in the twinbill.

The lefty Hart, making his first collegiate appearance on the hill, allowed one earned runs in five innings of work. Ludwig struck out eight batters in his five innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. Five pitchers- Megee, Eric Shultz, Matthew Smith, Chris Finneran and Robert Gruber- combined to toss six innings of scoreless relief on the afternoon. Shultz earned the save in game one, tossing 1.2 hitting innings to close out UMBC.

Elmore led off the seven-inning opening game with a single up the middle, and Larsson-Danforth drew a two-out walk three batters later. The next batter was Brenner, who sent an offering from UMBC starter Ed Bach over the left field fence at The Baseball Factory Field at UMBC to put the Bulldogs on top, 3-0.

The Retrievers took a run back in the bottom of the second, as Tyler Drinkard led off with a single- the only time that UMBC’s lead-off batter would reach in the contest. A sacrifice bunt and a pair of walks issued by Hart loaded the bases with one out. The Yale southpaw induced a groundball off the bat of Mike Lafferty, but Megee made an errant throw to the plate that allowed a run to score. Hart was unfazed, however, as he got the next batter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to retire the side with no further damage done.

After each side went down in order in the third, UMBC put another tally on the board in its half of the fourth to cut the deficit to a single run at 3-2. Curtis Schickner provided the RBI for the Retrievers with a base hit that scored shortstop Aaron Brill.

The Bulldogs would reclaim that run, however, in their next half-inning at the plate, as a UMBC error put junior shortstop Trey Rallis on first base to start off the frame. Brenner then worked the count for a walk, and junior Andrew Moore doubled to left to plate Rallis and give Yale a 4-2 lead. The next batter, sophomore Zach Tobolowsky, followed with a single that plated Brenner and increased the Bulldogs’ advantage to three runs at 5-2.

A Yale error once again gave UMBC a run in the bottom of the inning, as a throwing miscue by Hart put Max Himmelstein on second base with one down in the frame. Bryan Russo, the Retrievers’ cleanup hitter, cashed in on the RBI opportunity with a single up the middle.

After the Bulldogs went down in their next half-inning, Megee relieved Hart at that point, and quickly induced a Brill flyout to start off the sixth. A pair of walks and a base hit loaded the bases ensued, and Coach Stuper wasted no time going to his closer, sophomore Eric Shultz. The 6’4” right-hander wasted no time in squashing the scoring threat, throwing just two pitches to induce a 5-3 double play- Yale’s second base-loaded double play turned in the game, to retire the side.

“Shultz came on in a big spot and made the biggest play of the day,” said Stuper.

Yale would tack on a pair of insurance runs in its half of the seventh, as Charlie Neil walked with one out to start the offense. Tobolowsky then singled for the second time, and took second base when the Retrievers unsuccessfully tried to catch Neil going from second to third on the hit. Junior Andrew Kolmar, who went 3-for-4 in the opening game of the twinbill, knocked both baserunners home with a single to centerfield that gave the Bulldogs a more comfortable 7-3 lead, just three outs away from a victory.

Shultz stayed in the game and pitched a hitless frame, allowing just one runner to reach on a hit-by-pitch, to earn the save as Yale closed out UMBC, 7-3.

Hart (1-0) scattered five hits over the first five innings to earn the win in his first collegiate appearance. The junior hurler allowed just one earned run while striking out two Retrievers and walking three. Bach (0-1) allowed three earned runs in four innings, surrendering five hits and one walk while striking out a pair in the losing effort.

The scoring started early in the nine-inning nightcap as well, with Megee ripping a one-out double to jumpstart the offense. After advancing to third on a groundout, Larsson-Danforth hit a two-bagger of his own to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

The Retrievers got their own early offensive burst, courtesy of a two-run home run off the bat of Russo. Ludwig bounced back to pitch himself out of the early jam, striking out Brill with two runners on to quell the threat.

After each team went down quietly in the second and third innings, the Bulldogs gave Ludwig some breathing room with a six-run burst. Brenner led off the frame with a double down the line, and Moore followed with a base hit to put runners on the corners. A throwing error then plated Brenner and allowed Tobolowsky to reach, and Elmore singled two batters later to load the bases. Megee cashed in on the RBI chance, slapping a single to push a pair of Yale runners across home plate. After a double steal by Megee and Elmore and a Rallis walk, Larsson-Danforth stepped up with the bags full and knocked in two runners to bring the Bulldogs’ lead to a comfortable 7-2 tally.

After UMBC took a run back with a Schickner single in the bottom of the fourth, Yale put the game out of the reach with a four-run fifth inning. A Tobolowsky single sandwiched between walks from Moore and Kolmar loaded the bases for freshman centerfielder Cam Squires. The rookie speedster worked the count and drew a bases-loaded walk to earn his first career RBI. Yale then made good use of its first two outs of the frame, plating runs on an Elmore sacrifice fly and a Megee groundout. Rallis then became the ninth Bulldog to earn an RBI in the twinbill, smacking a double to right center to bring Squires around and give Yale an 11-3 lead.

After Ludwig picked up his seventh and eighth strikeouts in the fifth inning, the Yale bullpen took over and held the Retrievers scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Smith, who missed all of 2009 due to injury, struck out Schnicker looking to cap a scoreless sixth inning and posted a zero in the seventh frame as well. Finneran tossed a perfect eighth inning in his season debut, and Gruber closed out the doubleheader sweep with a scoreless ninth.

Yale and UMBC will close out their three-game series tomorrow afternoon with a single game slated for 12 p.m. The Bulldogs will then head south to the Sunshine State for eight contests at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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