BY HILARY DODYK
The baseball team began Ivy League play at home this weekend, splitting Saturday’s doubleheader with Yale and taking both games against Brown on Sunday. A trio of pitchers went the distance for the Tigers (5-17 overall, 3-1 Ivy League) in their first home games of the season.
Saturday started out well for the Tigers as senior pitcher Zak Hermans pitched all seven innings, recording five strikeouts and allowing only three hits in a 4-0 shutout.
Junior center fielder Alec Keller had a strong day at the plate, leading off with a home run to left field in the first Princeton at-bat of the 2013 Ivy League season. It would be the first of two runs for him in game one. Freshman second baseman Danny Hoy and junior first baseman Mike Ford also added a run apiece in the victory.
Yale came out strong in the second game that afternoon, however, and the Tigers were unable to continue their offensive momentum. They went just 7-for-35 in the game and left 12 men on base as junior pitcher Mike Fagan left after recording only three outs and allowing two runs. Freshman Cameron Mingo came in to pitch five innings in relief and gave up no earned runs, but three Bulldogs crossed the plate due to errors. All in all, five Princeton pitchers combined to allow nine runs while the Tigers could score only once, when Ford was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the final frame.
The Tigers looked much more consistent on Sunday, and head coach Scott Bradley never had to go to the bullpen as they swept Brown, winning both games by a score of 3-1.
“We’ve definitely had a tough time finishing games this year but this weekend was good because it showed we can win close games,” Keller said. “We always have known we have the talent to win a lot of games in the Ivy League and our expectations have not changed.”
Ford pitched a complete game in the morning, allowing one run on five hits, while also scoring for the Tigers. Senior right fielder Steve Harrington started off the scoring with an RBI single in the first. After Ford scored on a wild pitch, the score remained 2-0 until the seventh, when Brown notched its first run. Keller then scored off a fielder’s choice to bring the margin back to two runs. Overall, Keller scored twice, went two for three at the plate and showed off his speed by taking two bases on a wild pitch.
Senior pitcher Kevin Link recorded the afternoon win, allowing just one run over a full nine innings in his first career complete game. Link showed remarkable control and endurance, although he walked four, and allowed only three hits.
Brown almost started a rally in the sixth, when Will Marcal singled into left field with a runner on second and two outs, but senior left fielder Johnny Mishu got a good jump on the ball and made a perfect cut-off throw to sophomore shortstop Blake Thomsen. Thomsen then fired the ball to sophomore catcher Tyler Servais, who stood his ground as J.J. Franco slid into home and tagged him out to end the inning.
The Bears’ lone run came in Link’s only bad inning, when he recorded two walks and a hit batter. After a sacrifice fly, Link settled down and forced two more fly balls to get out of the jam.
Despite their strong performance, the Tigers are currently last in the Lou Gehrig Division of the Ivy League behind Cornell, Penn and Columbia, all of whom are undefeated. However, they are still fourth overall, as Yale leads the Red Rolfe Division with a 1-3 mark.
The Tigers will next be in action on Wednesday against Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J., at 3:30 p.m.