April 24, 2012

Yale Walks Off with Win in 12th

Hunter Belts Game-Winning RBI Double to Lift Bulldogs Past Holy Cross

 

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Sophomore second baseman Jacob Hunter belted a double to the right-center field wall with one out in the 12th inning to score Cale Hanson with the winning run, lifting the Yale University baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Holy Cross Tuesday night at Yale Field.

With the victory, Yale improves to 10-30-1 overall, while Holy Cross falls to 26-18.

Hunter's extra-inning heroics were made possible only by a strong showing by the Yale bullpen. After falling behind 3-0 after three innings, four Yale relievers combined to hold Holy Cross to just one run, two hits and eight base runners the rest of the way over the final nine innings.

"This game is just another indication why, despite our record, I am so proud of this team," Yale head coach John Stuper said. "A mid-week game against a very good team with very few people in the stands, but as always, they came out with energy and played hard. We got down 3-0 and our bullpen gives up one run in the last nine innings. They did a great job."

Holy Cross jumped on the board in the second inning on a two-run home run by Brandon Cipolla, his third of the season, and took a 3-0 lead on an RBI bunt single by Alex Maldonado that allowed Kyle Stearns to score from third base.

Yale erased the 3-0 deficit with a four-run rally in the fifth inning. After Joe Lubanski walked and stole second, he was pushed to third on Chris Piwinski's long fly ball to left field. Green Campbell then fouled out, pushing Yale to the brink of ending the inning without plating any runs at all. Instead, Ryan Brenner and Hanson followed with back-to-back singles that pushed Lubanski home with the first run of the inning. Hunter followed with an RBI double to cut the deficit to 3-2. Kevin Fortunato then followed with a two-run double that scored Hanson and Hunter to put Yale on top 4-3.

The lead didn't last long though. Chris Sintetos was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the sixth inning and he went to second on a balk by Yale pitcher David Hickey. The very next batter, Stephen Wadsworth, laced a single to left field to score Sintetos and tie the game at 4-4.

The score remained that way thanks to the strong performances of both bullpens. Holy Cross relievers held Yale to just three hits through the 11th inning, but the Bulldogs were able to finally break through in the 12th.

Yale had chances to break the 4-4 tie before the game headed into extra innings. Hanson singled with two outs in the seventh but failed to advance. In the eighth, Yale put runners on the corners when Fortunato led off with a single and advanced to second on a sac bunt by David Toups. Charlie Neil walked and Fortunato went to third when the pitch that walked Charlie Neil eluded Holy Cross catcher Steven Tkowski. Holy Cross third baseman Mike Ahmed moved to the mound and struck out Lubanski while Neil was caught stealing on the play to end the Yale threat.

The Crusaders' best chance to break the tie came in the 10th inning when a pair of walks put two runners on with just one out, but Yale escaped any danger when Sintetos bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Hanson (2-0) moved to the mound for just the third time this season and pitched the final two innings for the Bulldogs, allowing no hits in two scoreless innings, striking out four straight Holy Cross batters to give the bats a chance to come through in the 12th.

Yale outhit Holy Cross 11-6 with Hunter and Hanson collecting three hits apiece. Hunter had a triple and two doubles with two RBIs to power the Bulldogs' offense. Fortunato and Brenner each added two hits.

"We have had some trouble sticking two out hits, but we had a bunch of them in our four run inning," Stuper said. "I keep reminding myself we are young and have a number of guys at new positions. A game like this sure makes me feel good about our future."

Yale closes out its season this weekend with four games against Brown. The Bulldogs will visit the Bears for a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Yale will host Brown for Senior Day with two games that begin at 1 p.m.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity