April 29, 2011

Yale Suffers Pair Of Setbacks Vs. Brown

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University baseball team honored its 10 seniors after the first game of Friday's doubleheader against Brown, but the celebration was tempered by a pair of setbacks against Brown with the hopes of a division championship on the line.

The Bulldogs entered the weekend in a first-place tie with Dartmouth atop the Red Rolfe Division. Dartmouth and Harvard will play a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. Yale is looking for its first division title since 1995.

However, Brown's patience at the plate in Game 1 and a solid pitching performance by the Bears' starter Heath Mayo in Game 2 dealt a blow to the Bulldogs' title hopes. The Bears used 11 walks and only three hits to score six runs, all in the fifth inning, to open Friday's doubleheader with a 6-3 victory over Yale in Ivy League play at historic Yale Field. Mayo tossed a complete-game shutout in Game 2, giving up nine hits while staying out of danger in completing his first shutout of the season.

Yale falls to 22-18 overall, 10-8 in the Ivy League standings with the losses. Brown improved to 11-27, 8-10 in the Ivy League with the victories.

Yale's senior starting pitcher Vinny Lally was sharp early on, tallying four strikeouts though the first two innings, striking out the side in the second inning to stay out of trouble despite walking a pair of Brown batters.

However, he was done in by one tough inning. Lally walked five batters in the fifth inning and gave up two hits, the last being a two-run single that ended his day. He was replaced by Greg Lyons with two outs and two runners still on base.

Lyons walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to load the bases and walked the very next batter to force in Brown's sixth run of the inning, ending his outing. All six runs were charged to Lally (5-1), who suffered his first loss of the season. 

Avery Lanman replaced Lyons and forced Tyler to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning, but the damage had been done and Brown went back to the dugout with a 6-1 lead after sending a total of 12 batters to the plate in the inning, scoring six runs on a total of seven walks and just two hits.

In the bottom of the sixth, Yale staged a small rally to get back into the game. Jacob Hunter led off the inning with a double to the wall in left-center field. He scored  when Charlie Neil belted a one-out triple to the center field wall. Neil scored on the play when the throw from center field was misplayed by third baseman Ryan Zrenda, cutting the deficit to 6-3. Neil's triple was Yale's last hit of the game as Brown relief pitcher Kevin Carlow retired the final five batters that he faced to end the game and secure the win for the Bears.

In Game 2, Brook Hart was brilliant early on. He needed just 26 pitches, 20 of them strikes, to get through three perfect innings to open the game, striking out four of the nine batters he faced. The other five batters grounded out.

Hart hit a batter the fourth inning but he still struck out two more batters and maintained the no-hit bid. But those hopes were erased in the fifth inning when Hart walked the leadoff batter, Mike DiBiase, and gave up back-to-back one-out singles by Josh Feit and Wes Van Boom that drove in DiBiase with the first run of the game.

The Bears scored two more runs in the seventh when DiBiase led off with a double and scored on a one-out double by Feit. Feit then scored on a two-out single by J.J. Franco.

Hart lasted two outs into the eighth inning before giving up a double to Colantonio, who was the last batter that Hart faced. Fortunato replaced Hart following that double and gave up an RBI single to Ryan Zrenda that gave Brown a 4-0 lead. 

Yale threatened in the ninth inning, putting two runners on base, but the clutch hit never came and starting pitcher Heath Mayo was able to close the books on a complete-game shutout of the Bulldogs.

Hart allowed four runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking only one. Mayo scattered nine hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

The Bulldogs will visit Providence on Saturday to meet the Bears for two more games.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity