April 25, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A quartet of seniors stepped onto the diamond at historic Yale Field for the final time on Saturday when the Yale baseball team hosted a twin bill against Ivy League foe Brown. After dropping a tough 3-1 decision to the Bears in game one of the doubleheader, solid pitching from sophomore Vinny Lally and freshman Pat Ludwig combined with a five-run seventh inning highlighted by a three-run double off of the bat of junior Trygg Larsson-Danforth ensured that the Bulldogs' seniors left Yale Field as winners with a 6-2 victory.
With the split, Yale moved to 13-22 overall and 7-11 in Ivy League play. Brown moves to 20-18-1 on the season with a 13-5 mark in the Ancient Eight.
"We played well today," said John Stuper, the Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball. "Obviously we not still playing for a division title, but we still came out and played with high energy and a lot of the intensity. And of course it was nice for the seniors to win in their last game at Yale Field."
Lally pitched the first six innings of game two, surrendering four hits and one earned run. Lally struck out five batters and walked seven before exiting in a 1-1 game. Ludwig scattered three hits and allowed one earned run over the final three frames. He struck out one and walked one to earn the first win of his collegiate career.
"I was very pleased with our pitching today," said Stuper. "Vinny had some control problems, but he battled all day, and the bottom line was that only gave up one run. Pat Ludwig turned in another very solid appearance out of the pen."
In game one, senior Brandon Josselyn took the hill for the final time in a Yale uniform, as he pitched well but took the loss in the 3-1 contest, falling to 5-3 on the season. The right-hander tossed the full seven innings of the opening game, allowing seven hits and three earned runs. He struck out six batters and walked just one.
"You couldn't give me any other player in this league for Brandon Josselyn," said Stuper of his senior ace. "He is the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year in my opinion, and I think he will be starting a new phase in his career beginning in June [the MLB Draft]."
Senior captain Stefan Schropp went 2-for-5 in his Yale Field finale, reaching base four times in seven plate appearances in the doubleheader. Schropp was one of five Bulldogs to tally two hits on the day. Junior Stephen Miehls got the start in game two and swatted his first home run of the season.
In game one, the Bears got on the board in the top of the first inning. Second baseman Matt Nuzzo drew a two-out walk to start up the offense. Pete Greskoff then singled as the Bulldogs' middle infielders collided on a ground ball up the middle, and Dan Shapiro hit another ground ball that found daylight to plate Nuzzo with the game's first run.
Brown would added another run in the fourth inning, as Robert Papenhause singled and Daniel Rosoff followed with a double down the right field line, one of the few hard-hit balls off of Josselyn all day, to plate him and extend the Bears' lead to 2-0.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit back down to a single run in their half of the fourth inning, as Schropp led off the frame with a single, Yale's first hit of the day off of Brown starter Mark Gormley. Sophomore Andy Megee replaced Schropp at first after grounding into a fielder's choice and took second base on a wild pitch. A long fly out by Larsson-Danforth moved Megee to third, and freshman Charlie Neil brought him home with a two-out single that ran the score to 2-1.
The Elis would get no closer however, as Brown added an insurance run via a Matt Colantonio RBI single in the top of the seventh inning to bring the score to its eventual final of 3-1.
Gormley allowed just two singles and one earned run in a complete game performance to improve to 5-2.
In the night cap of the twin bill, it was Yale that started the scoring as Miehls led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run off of Brown starter Rob Wilcox.
The 1-0 score held up until the top of the sixth inning, when the Bears loaded the bases with one out. Lally got the second out of the frame, as senior catcher Davis Stanley fielded a dribbler and alerted raced back to home plate for the force. Yale's sophomore southpaw would issue a walk to Graham Tyler to force in a run and tie the score at 1-1 before striking out Colantonio to retire the side and leave the bases loaded.
After Ludwig came on and pitched a perfect seventh inning, the Bulldogs offense broke the game open with five runs in their half of the frame. Junior Chris Sweeney led off the inning with a single, as was replaced at first by Miehls via a fielder's choice. Stanley then ripped a base hit up the middle to move Miehls into scoring position and chase Wilcox from the game. Andrew Backowski came on to face Schropp and sailed the first pitch over his head, which allowed Miehls and Stanley to advance. The Bears then chose to intentionally walk Schropp, which loaded the bases with one out. Brown Head Coach Marek Drabinski promptly went to his closer, Matthew Kimball. The Ivy League save leader was greeted by freshman Zach Tobolowsky, who singled up the middle to plate Miehls and keep the bases loaded. Megee then drew a bases loaded to walk to run the score to 3-1 in favor of the home team, and Larsson-Danforth ripped a two-bagger down the left field line that cleared the bases and pushed the lead to five runs at 6-1.
"Trygg has been very consistent this season; he's the one we want at the plate in that situation," said Stuper. "What has impressed me most is his ability to turn the page after bad at-bats." Larsson-Danforth was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts prior to his three-run double.
The Bears got a run back in the top of the eighth inning courtesy of a Ryan Zrenda single, but Ludwig hung tough a closed the door on a 6-2 victory to earn the first win of his career.
"It's great to get a win on Senior Day," said Schropp. "Brown has had our number the last few years, but we played very well today. We dealt with a lot of the expected ups and downs that come with a young team, but to see Tobolowsky get a big hit today and see Vinny and Ludwig pitch well makes it feel like it was all worth it. I feel like the seniors are leaving this team in very good hands."
Wilcox fell to 3-2 on the season, allowing eight hits and three earned runs in the first 6.1 innings for the Bears. He racked up six strikeouts and issued one free pass.
"It was also good to play in nice weather for a change," quipped Stuper of the mid-70s weather in the Elm City. Every week in the Elis' 2009 schedule was altered in some way by inclement weather.
The Bulldogs and Bears will meet again tomorrow, this time in Providence, to close out the 2009 season. First pitch of the twin bill from Murray Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity