A 7th Inning Rally Propels The Bulldogs Past The Red Foxes, 4-3
All was quiet on a Tuesday afternoon in New Haven. Various people milled about the empty field, preparing for today’s festivities. There was a special smell of Spring in the air while the cars on Derby Ave whipped past, surely over the speed limit. Sprinklers popped up to water the grass, but they were somewhere far away. Instead, the synthetic turf baked in the high March sun while a tractor drove across it for unknown reasons. Yes, ladies and gents, it was time for Bulldog baseball, as the Marist Red Foxes travelled to George H.W. Bush ’48 Field for a matinee.
353 fans filed in while “Return Of The Mack” blasted over the PA System. Even the people in the press booth stood for the recording of the National Anthem. A moment of pause occurred when Yale coach, John Stuper, refused to shake the hand of Chris Tracz, the Marist skipper. He eventually obliged, because after all, he is a gentleman. It just goes to show that no love is lost between these two teams, who have faced off against each other a total of zero times. In that case, no love was ever gained.
First Year starting pitcher, Colton Shaw, got the Bulldogs into a horrible jam early. He was unable to find his groove, throwing the first 9 pitches for balls and eventually walking the bases loaded. But he quickly gained some composure with a strikeout and fly-out to give the Red Foxes a goose egg in the 1st. Yale quickly struck with a leadoff double by Mason LaPlante, who was sent home by a Jimmy Chatfield single. But that lead quickly went away when Junior, Dylan Hoy, hit a 2 RBI single, punishing Shaw for his control issues.
The Bulldogs went without a baserunner for 5 innings, much due to the Red Foxes’ relief pitcher, Brian Yetter. He tossed 4 perfect innings, striking out five. The Bulldogs lineup had no answer for his speed, in terms of both his velocity and pacing. He pitched so economically that by the time you were able to look up what town he came from, the inning was over and he was prancing to the dugout. But in the 7th inning, after seemingly a good stretch, Yale figured him out. Taking timeouts to mess with his pacing, Jake Gehri and Carson Swank were able to get on base. And in a decision that most assuredly cost him the game, Coach Tracz gave him the hook in favor of Zane Kmietek. The All-Academic Senior clearly inherited more than he could chew. Spectators had flashbacks to game 6 of the 2020 World Series, as a wild pitch sent the runners to second and third. A perfect opportunity for Tommy Martin to poke one into right field to tie up the game. In a blink of an eye, he was crossing the plate after an AJ Gaich pinch-hit RBI and the Bulldogs took the lead for good.
In the end, Yale relievers Reid Easterly and Mick Kelley were the stars of the game. They combined for 4 perfect innings and 4 strikeouts, making a close game seem all-too-distant. Now on a 4 game winning streak, the Yale Bulldogs will ride their good vibes all the way to the West Coast. They have 3 games in Riverside this weekend, taking on the 11-4 juggernaut, California Baptist University. Then, they’ll be back to New Haven on the 23rd for a Wednesday matinee against Quinnipiac. I, for one, will be there. You can be, too!