March 18, 2009
TOWSON, Md. - Pitching has been the key to success for the Yale baseball team in the early stages of the 2009 season. And unfortunately for the Bulldogs at Towson on Wednesday, the mound was their worst enemy. The Elis plated eight runs and pounded out 14 hits against the host Tigers, but Yale pitching issued 12 walks and hit four batters in addition to 12 hits allowed en route to dropping a 16-8 decision.
With the loss, Yale falls to 3-5 on the season. Towson claimed the rubber match of the three-game tilt with the Bulldogs to improve to 11-8.
"Any team that scores eight runs, has 14 hits and commits no errors should win every time," said John Stuper, Yale's Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball. "Our pitching needs to improve drastically."
Of the 16 free passes allowed by Bulldog pitching, seven of those runners eventually came around to score.
Offensively, senior first baseman Stefan Schropp led the way with a home run, a double and three runs batted in in four at-bats. Sophomore shortstop Gant Elmore went 3-for-4 with two walks and two runs scored, and sophomore right fielder Harry Koulos was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI in his first appearance of the season. Sophomore third baseman Andy Megee also notched two hits, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.
Towson started the scoring in the first inning, despite managing just one hit off of Yale starter Chris Finneran. Tigers' leadoff man Gary Helmick started the frame with a double, and a walk, hit batter, wild pitch and sacrifice fly soon created two runs for the home team.
The Bulldogs took a run back in the top of the second frame, as a one-out single from Megee started the scoring rally. Megee moved to second when senior catcher Davis Stanley was hit by a pitch and then took third on a long fly out by freshman second baseman Zach Tobolowsky. Junior center fielder Stephen Miehls cashed in on the RBI opportunity, bringing Megee home with a two-out single to left field.
After the Tigers went down without a hit in the bottom of the frame, freshman left fielder Charlie Neil led off the Elis' half of the third with his first career home run. However, the Bulldogs failed to capitalize on a bases loaded situation with none out in the inning, and the contest went to the bottom of the third inning with the score still deadlocked at 2-2.
The stalemate was short-lived, however, as Towson snapped back with seven runs on four hits in their half of the third frame to grab a commanding 9-2 advantage. The big blow was a grand slam by first baseman Kevin Collins, his first of three home runs on the afternoon.
Yale began to chip away at the Tigers' lead in the fifth inning. After Elmore drew a leadoff walk, Schropp pounded his first roundtripper of the season to cut the gap to five runs at 9-4. The Bulldogs kept the pressure on the home team in the sixth, as Koulos started the scoring with a single to bring Miehls home. Schropp later roped an RBI double to tack on another run, and Megee drew a bases loaded walk to cut the score to 9-7. However, the Bulldogs once again left the bases loaded as the next two batters failed to cash in on the scoring opportunity.
Just a quickly as the Bulldogs chopped the lead down to just two runs, Towson built it back up to five on a three-run home run by Aaron Gabrielian in the bottom of the inning that made the score 12-7. Towson added two more runs in the next inning on Kevin Collins' second home run of the day and a double two batters later by his brother, Matt Collins.
Megee's solo shot in Yale's half of the eighth inning cut the score to 14-8. The blast proved to be the Bulldogs' last run of the afternoon, however, while Kevin Collins' third dinger added two more for the home team in the bottom of the eighth to run the score to its eventual final of 16-8.
Finneran allowed three hits and issued four walks in 2+ innings of work to take the loss and fall to 0-1. He struck out two batters and allowed six runs, all earned. Nate Curd was the most effective among a quintet of Tigers' pitchers, tossing 2.2 innings, scattering four hits and allowing just one earned run. He struck out three Elis and didn't walk a batter to improve to 4-1 on the season.
The Bulldogs will travel to Worcester, Mass. tomorrow, where they will begin a two-game series with Holy Cross on Friday. That contest is scheduled for 3 p.m., while the Saturday tilt will begin at 3:30 p.m.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity