April 15, 2012

Hanson Extends Streak in Bulldogs’ Split with Crimson

Ludwig Strikes Out 8 in Complete-Game Loss in Game 1

 

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University baseball team led 3-0 in Game 1 before Harvard rallied to pull out a 4-3 victory of Sunday's doubleheader at Yale Field, but the Bulldogs came storming back in Game 2, rallying from a 3-2 deficit to earn a 5-3 victory to salvage the split.

Yale sophomore shortstop Cale Hanson went a combined 5-for-8 in the two games with five singles, two runs scored and two stolen bases, extending his on-base streak to 33 consecutive games.

In Game 1, Yale's starting pitcher, senior Pat Ludwig, tossed a gem but once again suffered from bad luck in a complete game loss. It was Ludwig's second complete game in his last three starts. He struck out eight Harvard batters while scattering six hits and walking just one. He gave up four runs, but only two were earned.

Yale opened the game with a three-run first inning that appeared to give Ludwig all the support he needed. Ludwig cruised through the first five innings, allowing just two hits and three base runners in holding Harvard scoreless over that stretch.

However, Harvard opened the sixth inning with back-to-back singles by Jeff Reynolds and Kyle Larrow, and then the Crimson used a one-out, two-run triple by Steven Dill to cut Yale's lead to 3-2. Dill then scored on a passed ball with two outs to tie the game at 3-3.

In the eighth, Reynolds led off with a single, but Ludwig struck out the next two batters to move to within one out of escaping any damage. Reynolds then advanced to second on a wild pitch, which put him in position to score the winning run on an error by Yale second baseman Jacob Hunter.

After scoring three runs on five hits in the first inning off of Harvard starter Matt Timoney, Yale could not keep the momentum going against Harvard's bullpen, which kept the Bulldogs from scoring any more runs the rest of the way.

Baron Davis replaced Timoney with two outs in the first inning and worked 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up four hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Andrew Ferreira worked the final 2.2 innings, giving up just one hit with three strikeouts.

The pair of relievers gave the Crimson bats the chance they needed to capitalize on another tough-luck outing by Ludwig. Yale's senior right-hander is the team's best pitcher and he showed it on Sunday. He is also one of the best in the league. Ludwig leads the Ivy League in strikeouts (50), strikeouts looking (21), and he is second in ERA (2.50) and third in opposing batting average (.238). However, his record doesn't show how well he has pitched this season. He is 0-4 and Yale is 0-7 in games that he has started, scoring three runs or less in five of those games.

"Pat doesn't have a win, but there is not a pitcher I have seen all year that I would take over him," Yale head coach John Stuper said. "He might be the best pitcher in our league. He has battled and battled every start. He has been outstanding. I hope we can get him a few W's going forward. He certainly deserves it."

Despite the tough loss in the opening game, Yale bounced right back in Game 2, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI groundout by Kevin Fortunato and an RBI single by David Toups.

Harvard responded with two runs in the top of the third inning on a two-run triple by Reynolds that tied the game at 2-2. The Crimson seized a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Larrow.

The Bulldogs had the last laugh, however, tying the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI double by Josh Scharff.

The Bulldogs then opened the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back doubles by Hunter and Fortunato to pull ahead 4-3. Fortunato later scored on an RBI sacrifice bunt by Charlie Neil to give Yale the 5-3 victory.

"In any sport, I've always said that you can't always play well, but you can always play hard," Stuper said. "After an absolutely crushing loss in Game 1 in which we did not play particularly well, these guys came back with energy and got a win. That's why I love this team. We've had a tough year, but boy, they come to play."

Nolan Becker started and worked 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts before giving way to reliever Eric Shultz (4-1). The senior right-hander worked the final 1.1 innings, giving up just one hit in scoreless relief to earn his fourth win of the season.

Scharff, who entered the day mired in a 1-for-20 slump went a combined 4-for-6 with three singles, a double, a walk and an RBI to lead the Yale bats. Hunter went 3-for-8 with two runs scored.

Yale is scheduled to cap its 11-game home stand with a nine-inning game against in-state rival Sacred Heart on Tuesday beginning at 3:30 p.m. at Yale Field.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity