Fast Start Lifts Bulldogs to 10-6 Victory over Indiana

Andrew Kolmar (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Andrew Kolmar (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Yale baseball team jumped out to a 9-0 lead over Indiana after three innings at Chain of Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven, Fla. on Monday afternoon courtesy of the long ball. Home runs from junior shortstop Trey Rallis, senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth and junior right fielder Andrew Kolmar fueled the Bulldogs’ offense as junior left-hander Vinny Lally battled through 6.1 innings to earn the win as Yale downed the defending Big Ten Conference Tournament champion Hoosiers by a final score of 10-6.

The Elis, who served as the home team in the neutral-site game, improve to 6-2-1 after their second consecutive victory over a 2009 NCAA Tournament team. Yale rallied to top Army, last season’s Patriot League champion and an NCAA Regional Finalist, by a score of 9-6 yesterday in the Sunshine State. Indiana falls to 5-9 with the loss.

“Indiana was hit hard by the draft, so they’re a young team,” said John Stuper, Yale’s Mazzuto  Family Head Coach for Baseball. “But they are still a good team. This was another very good win for us.”

In addition to his two-run shot, Rallis also had a run-scoring single as a part of a 3-for-3, three RBI day at the plate. Larsson-Danforth, who went yard back-to-back with Rallis in the first inning, added an RBI triple to his first roundtripper of the season. Kolmar’s home run, which went to one of the deepest parts of the park in left-centerfield, was his first of the year as well. Junior third baseman Andy Megee, sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner and junior designated hitter Andrew Moore also drove in runs for the Bulldogs.

On the mound, Lally (2-0) scattered seven hits and three walks over the first 6.1 innings of the contest. He allowed six earned runs and struck out five Hoosiers. Junior left-hander Brook Hart did not earn an official save, but relieved Lally in a big spot in the seventh inning and allowed no runs and just three hits the rest of the way to preserve the Yale victory.

“Vinny struggled at times, but he’s always a battler on the mound and today was no exception,” said Stuper. “And Brook was outstanding in relief.”

Hart, a member of Yale’s starting rotation, was limited to just two innings in his last scheduled start due to a two-hour rain delay in last Thursday’s game against Bowling Green.

Right-hander Casey Smith (0-1) worked just 2+ innings for the Hoosiers, surrendering seven earned runs and six hits, including all three Yale home runs. Southpaw Matt Igel pitched an effective 4.2 innings out of the bullpen as Indiana chiseled away at the early 9-0 deficit, allowing three earned runs and five hits while striking out five Elis and walking three.

The Bulldogs got on the board in a hurry, as Rallis hit a two-run blast to right field to score Megee, who drew a one-out walk to jumpstart the offense. Smith had little time to recover from Rallis’ second home run of the season, as Larsson-Danforth sent the very next pitch over the 425’ marker to clear the centerfield wall at Chain of Lakes Stadium and give Yale a 3-0 lead after one inning of play.

After Lally set the Hoosiers down in order in the second frame, Kolmar connected on the Elis’ third home run of the day- driving an 0-2 pitch to deep left-centerfield that put the Bulldogs up 4-0.

Yale would pull farther ahead in the third inning, as Megee would set the table again for the offense with a leadoff double. Rallis, the next batter, cashed in on the RBI opportunity with a single that scored the Yale third baseman and extended the Elis’ lead to five runs. Larsson-Danforth would follow with authority once again, as Chain of Lakes Stadium barely contained a blast to left-centerfield that brought Rallis home and put the 6’6 lefty on third base with his first triple of 2010. The Hoosiers would call on the southpaw Igel to try and slow down the Yale hitters, but Brenner greeted the sophomore hurler with a hard shot to the hot corner for an RBI infield single. After a wild pitch moved the Yale catcher into scoring position, Moore roped his team-leading sixth double of the season to increase the lead to 8-0. Two more wild pitches scored Moore to make it five runs in the frame before Igel pitched out of the inning with the Bulldogs owning a commanding 9-0 advantage.

Lally struggled to start the top of the fourth after the long half-inning in the dugout, as Alex Dickerson doubled to drive in two runs with none down in the frame. The southpaw battled back to put away the next three batters and strand Dickerson is scoring position with no additional damage done.

At that point, Igel began to settle in for the Hoosiers, posting zeroes on the scoreboard in the fifth and sixth innings. Indiana would respond by manufacturing a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning, pushing runs across the plate with a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch to cut the deficit to a more manageable 9-4.

The Elis tacked on another in their half of the sixth, as Neil drew a walk and stole second base to move into scoring position. Megee would then bring the big Texan home with a single that increased the Yale lead to 10-4.

The Hoosiers inched closer in the top of the seventh inning, as a wild pitch scored Indiana’s fifth run and ended the day for Lally. Another left-hander, junior Brook Hart, came on for Yale and allowed an inherited runner to score on another Dickerson two-bagger before retiring the side with the Bulldogs clinging to a 10-6 lead.

Hart got into a jam in the top of the eighth inning with two fast runners on the corners and two out in the inning. The southpaw pitched out of trouble, however, getting reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Micah Johnson to line out to defensive replacement Matt Schmidt at shortstop and bringing the Bulldogs just three outs away from victory.

The Hoosiers bullpen continued to pitch well, keeping the score at 10-6 entering the final frame, but Hart finished off Indiana with a perfect ninth to close the door on Yale’s sixth win of the season.

The Bulldogs will look to close out the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational tomorrow with three straight wins, as Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Fla. plays host to an 11 a.m. tilt between Yale and Bucknell. The Elis then return to the Nutmeg State for a pair of noon doubleheaders at Hartford on Friday and Saturday. Opening day at Yale Field will be the following Saturday, as the Bulldogs host the New York Institute of Technology for a noon twinbill on March 27.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity