Bulldogs Bite Hoyas in Eighth, Rally to First Win

Eric Shultz (Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Lubanski's RBI Single in Bottom of Eighth Lifts Yale to First Win of 2012 Season

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — It did not take long for the Yale University baseball team to rebound from the sting of the four-game sweep at Virginia Tech last weekend.

In the Bulldogs' first game of the RussMatt Invitational, freshman left fielder Joe Lubanski slapped a sharp single through the left side to score junior Cam Squires with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Yale to a 3-2 win over Georgetown at Chain O'Lakes Park Wednesday night.

Sophomore closer Kevin Fortunato retired Georgetown in order in the top of the ninth to secure Yale's first victory of the season and his first save of 2012. Yale improves to 1-4 with the victory. Despite giving up the tying run, sophomore Cale Hanson moved from center field to the mound in the eighth inning and prevented Bowling Green from putting together a big inning to earn the victory.

Freshman second baseman David Toups led the Yale offense, going 3-for-3 with a sac bunt and a stolen base. Fortunato went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while senior captain Ryan Brenner also went 2-for-4. Hanson went 1-for-1 with two sacrifice bunts and a walk.

Georgetown struck first in the top of the first inning when Mike Garza scored an unearned run on an RBI groundout by Rand Ravnaas. Garza lined a one-out double to right field and advanced to third on a throwing error by Yale senior right fielder Charlie Neil. Garza then scored on Ravnaas' groundout to second base. Georgetown put two more runners on behind singles from Kevin Johnson and Corbin Blakey, but Yale starting pitcher Nolan Becker forced Danny Poplawski to ground out for the third out, escaping any further damage.

The teams traded zeroes until Yale tied the game in the fifth inning on Jacob Hunter's RBI groundout. Chris Piwinski walked to start the inning and Brenner followed with a single. Toups then pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Hunter then followed with his ground ball to short, allowing Piwinski to score the tying run.

The Bulldogs took the lead in the sixth inning when Fortunato led off with a double, moved to third on a groundout by Hanson. Neil then drove Fortunato home with a sacrifice flyout to put Yale on top, 2-1.

Georgetown threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with one out. However, Neil bailed out reliever Eric Shultz when he threw out Andy Lentz at home plate as he was trying to score on Johnson's one-out single to right field. Shultz got himself out of the jam when he retired Blakey for the third out on a groundout to third.

Hanson was not as lucky in the eighth inning. He came in from center field to replace Shultz on the mound and promptly put the first two runners on base with a single by Poplawski and a walk by Trevor Matern. They both moved into scoring position on Paul Bello's sacrifice bunt, and Poplawski scored on an RBI groundout by Lentz, tying the game at 2-2. With the potential winning run on third base, Hanson avoided further damage by forcing Justin Leeson to ground out to short to end the inning.

Yale struck back in the bottom of the eighth when Squires walked to lead off the inning and Hanson followed with a one-out walk. Lubanski's game-winning single came with two outs, scoring Squires with the winning run.

Fortunato closed the game out with three straight pop-ups to secure Yale's first win of the season.

The Bulldogs are back in action Thursday afternoon against Bowling Green.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity