Ludwig’s Gem Leads Bulldogs to Doubleheader Split With NYIT

Pat Ludwig (Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Pitching ruled the day on Saturday, as the Yale baseball team hosted the New York Institute of Technology in a doubleheader to open the 83rd season of play at historic Yale Field. Bulldogs’ sophomore right-hander Pat Ludwig turned in the best performance of the afternoon, tossing a two-hit shutout and striking out seven to guide Yale to a 4-0 victory in the nightcap of the twin bill. Earlier in the day, junior left-hander Brook Hart allowed just two runs in 6.1 innings of work but was out-dueled by NYIT right-hander Preston Wasmund as the Bears took a 3-2 decision in extra innings.

With the split, Yale moves to 10-6-1 in the 2010 season. The Bears now sit at 4-8.

“We’re a good hitting team, but even good hitting teams aren’t going to score 10 runs every game,” said Mazzuto Family Head Coach John Stuper. “We fed off of our hitting on spring trip, but today our pitching set the tone. Everybody who stepped on the mound was excellent.”

Ludwig (3-2) struck out seven batters in a seven-inning complete game victory. The sophomore surrendered just two hits and walked two batters to earn the first shutout of his career. He allowed no hits and just one total base runner after the third inning.

Hart scattered eight hits in his 6.1 innings on the hill in game one, allowing two earned runs in a no-decision. The rookie southpaw struck out six batters and walked one in the extra-inning affair, which was scheduled for seven frames. Senior right-hander Robert Gruber pitched two-thirds of an inning, hitting a batter but erasing him with a double play to end the seventh inning. Sophomore right-hander Greg Lyons (1-1) took the loss, pitching the eighth inning and allowing one run on two hits.

Offensively, junior second baseman Gant Elmore led the Bulldogs with three hits in the doubleheader, including two doubles in game two. Junior third baseman had two hits and stole his team-leading ninth base of the year. Junior rightfielder Andrew Kolmar drove in two RBI on the day, while junior Trey Rallis, sophomore Ryan Brenner and junior Andrew Moore knocked in one run apiece.

In game one, the Bears struck first with a run off Hart in their first at-bat. Effrey Valdez picked up the RBI with a double in the inning, driving home Ryan Campbell, who had drawn a one-out walk.

The 1-0 lead for the visitors held all the way to the bottom of the fifth, as Hart and Wasmund traded zeroes on the scoreboard. In the fifth frame, sophomore shortstop Matt Schmidt reached with two outs via an error by his defensive counterpart to start the rally. Schmidt moved to third on a single by Elmore and scored the tying run as Elmore survived a run-down due to a throwing error by Campbell, the Bears’ second baseman.

After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams, NYIT broke the 1-1 deadlock in the top of the seventh, as Ali Rodriguez beat out an infield hit to reach first as the leadoff hitter. A sacrifice bunt moved the Bears’ designated hitter into scoring position, and Sebastian Grazziani then singled him home to give the lead back to the visitors. A double by Robert Loftus put runners on second and third and chased Hart from the game, as Stuper turned to the 6’7” submariner Gruber to quell the threat. After Gruber hit Brian Smith with a pitch, the senior got Campbell to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to save a run and end the inning with the Bulldogs still in striking distance, trailing 2-1 entering their final at-bat.

With their backs against the wall, Moore lead off the bottom of the seventh inning with a clutch double down the left field line that sent Wasmund to the locker room. NYIT turned to ace reliever Mike Roth, as Stuper sent sophomore Charlie Neil to pinch-hit and freshman Cam Squires to pinch-run for Moore. Neil did his job, flying out to right field and allowing Squires to move 90 feet closer to tying the game. The next batter was Kolmar, who jumped on the first pitch he saw and singled up the middle to plate Squires and knot the game at 2-2.

Lyons took the hill as the game went to an extra frame and was greeted by a single from Valdez. The NYIT third baseman moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a groundout by Christian Dienna. Catcher Greg Gilroy then drove Valdez home and reached base himself as a sacrifice fly was dropped in left field by Squires. An intentional walk and a single loaded the bases for the Bears, but Lyons battled out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to Schmidt to keep the score at 3-2 in favor of NYIT.

This time, Yale was unable to answer the Bears, as Roth left two Bulldogs’ runners stranded on the basepaths to notch his second win of the season.

Wasmund was as impressive as Hart for his 6+ innings of work, allowing four hits and one earned run in the no decision. Roth (2-2) surrendered just one hit in his two innings of relief work.

In game two, also a scheduled seven-inning affair, the Bulldogs made sure they would not have to play from behind again with a run in the bottom of the first. Elmore led off the frame with a double down the right field line, and Rallis followed with a two-bagger of his own- to nearly the same spot- that brought the junior second baseman home with the game’s first run.

One run was plenty for Ludwig, as he kept NYIT guessing all day with an economical 74-pitch performance. After allowing one run in the first inning, Bears’ left-hander Andrew Guarrasi joined in the pitchers’ duel, trading zeroes with Ludwig for the next four frames.

The Bulldogs would add some insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Elmore once again served as the catalyst with a leadoff double. Megee then beat out an infield hit, and two juniors each moved 90 feet on a wild pitch. Rallis then walked to load the bases, and Moore knocked in a run two batters later, reaching safely on an error by Campbell after a . The next batter was Brenner, who picked up an RBI on a hit-by-pitch. The Elis then ran the lead to 4-0 on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kolmar, his second RBI of the day.  A perfect seventh by Ludwig closed out the contest and gave Yale a split of the home double-dip.

“NYIT is a good team; we faced solid pitching today,” said Stuper. “We didn’t get a ton of hits, but we had some great at-bats. Moore and Kolmar both battled for their RBIs in the second game.” Both junior outfielders knocked in runs on the eighth pitch of their lengthy at-bats.

Yale and NYIT will be back in action as the series moves to Old Westbury, N.Y. for a nine-inning rubber match. First pitch from Presidents’ Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity