April 9, 2011

Yale Splits Doubleheader With Penn

Bulldogs Drop Opener, 2-0, But Roar Back With 13-6 Win

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — In order to keep pace with defending Ivy League champion Dartmouth in the Rolfe Division standings, the Yale University baseball team has to maintain its strong play of late during the Ivy League weekends.

The Bulldogs did just that on Saturday, but the solid play resulted in a split of a doubleheader with Penn, which entered the weekend an unbeaten 4-0 in Ivy League play.

Yale and Penn played a scoreless nine innings in the scheduled seven-inning opener before Penn struck for a pair of runs in the 10th to take a 2-0 win, but Yale opened up the offense in the nightcap to strike back with a 13-6 victory.

The results left both teams with identical 14-11 overall records. Yale remained at .500 in the league standings, moving to 3-3 in Ivy League play, while Penn suffered its first Ivy loss and left the day at 5-1 in league play.

In the 10th inning of the opening game, Spencer Branigan belted a one-out double and then scored off of an RBI triple from Greg Zebrack to break the scoreless tie. Zebrack scored on Derek Vigoa's RBI single to give the Quakers a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs spoiled an excellent pitching performance from senior starting pitcher Vinny Lally. Lally worked nine scoreless innings, giving up only four hits and striking out seven Penn batters.

Yale had three chances to pull off a walk-off victory, but each time, the Quaker outfielders denied the Bulldogs' scoring opportunities.

In the eighth inning, Gant Elmore led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cam Squires. After Andy Megee was intentionally walked, Kevin Fortunato singled to left. Elmore tried to score from second on the play but was thrown out at home for the final out of the inning.

The Bulldogs had a pair of similar plays in the ninth. They had three hits in the inning, starting with Ryan Brenner's one-out double. Matt Schmidt walked and then Andrew Moore singled to right, but Brenner was thrown out at home trying to score from second. Elmore then singled to right field and Schmidt was thrown out at home trying to score from second.

However, those were the only scoring opportunities the Bulldogs had in the game, primarily because Penn starter Paul Cusick kept the Bulldogs' bats off-balance. He worked eight scoreless innings and struck out 11 batters, allowing only five hits.

Moore and Elmore each had two hits for the Bulldogs in the opener.

The results were far different in the nightcap. Yale started off the game with a five-run first inning and followed with two-run innings in the third and fourth to open up a 9-0 lead before Penn could get on the scoreboard.

The Quakers scored a single run in the top of the fifth, but the Bulldogs responded with three more runs in the bottom of the inning and another run in the sixth inning to jump out to a 13-1 lead that was comfortable until a late rally by the Quakers.

Penn showed off some power in the eighth and ninth innings to trim the deficit, thanks to a three-run home run by Will Davis that sparked a four-run rally in the eighth inning and then a solo homer in the ninth inning by Rick Brebner. The rally trimmed the Bulldogs' lead to 13-6, but the Quakers could get no closer.

Trey Rallis led the Bulldogs' offense in the nightcap, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Cale Hanson was 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored, while Cam Squires went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Pat Ludwig worked six innings, allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks to improve to 2-2 on the season.

Yale returns to action against defending Gehrig division champion Columbia on Sunday with a pair of games that begin at 12 p.m. at Yale Field.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity

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