This weekend the Tigers took Clarke Field for the first time this season. After having a rough opening patch of the schedule, Princeton looked to get back on track with a four-game homestand against Ivy League foes.
On Sunday, Princeton opened up their conference season on a high note with two wins against the Brown Bears in doubleheader action. The first game was decided in extra innings when freshman designated hitter Conor Nolan hit a walk off single after freshman David Harding and senior Nick Hernandez both singled off of pitcher Samuel Hauser and got into scoring position.
The first game was tight throughout, with both starting pitchers doing a great job minimizing sequences of hits. Senior pitcher Chris Giglio ambushed early, giving up a run in both the first and second inning against the Bears and facing lots of hard hit balls. However he settled down in the middle innings and finished with six innings pitched five hits, two runs (both earned) and seven strikeouts.
Relief pitcher — sophomore Ryan Smith — earned his first win of the season after coming into the game in the seventh inning. He held Brown to only two hits over the final innings and struck out three as the Bears were never able to threaten in the seventh or eighth inning.
On the other side, Princeton did most of their damage in the final innings. After scoring only one run against Brown starter Max Ritchie, the Tigers opened up their offense in the seventh and eighth innings. The Tigers amassed four hits, as many as they did in the first six, and scored two runs to take the first game of the series against Brown.
While the first game’s story was defense, the second game of the doubleheader was an offensive clinic for the Tigers. Princeton defeated Brown 11-5 and amassed 13 hits. Nick Hernandez had himself a career day, smashing two home runs and driving in five batters for the Tigers; both were career highs for Hernandez.
But the offense didn’t stop there; the Tigers chased Brown starter Bobby Leyman just three innings into the game and poured it on the Bears defense all evening. The game featured three Tiger home runs highlighted by Hernandez’s grand slam in the eighth to put the game away for good. Despite senior Chad Powers giving up 12 hits, he limited the Bears to just five runs (three earned), struck out five and gave the Tigers a solid 6.2 innings, preserving the bullpen for the upcoming games.
The Tigers went back to work on Monday, taking on Yale in a rematch of last year’s Ivy League championship game. While last year’s match was taken by the Tigers, this time the Bulldogs won the series and defeated Princeton in both games. The first game was a very sloppy game for the Tigers especially in the fourth inning. All told, five errors led to eight unearned runs for the Bulldogs, leading to an 8-0 shutout. While the score told a very ugly story, the Tigers actually had a nice outing by their relievers; sophomore Trey Ramsey, freshman Eli Kimbell, and junior Bryce Keller combined for a shutout over the final three innings.
The second game against Yale was very reminiscent of the championship series last year. Junior pitcher Ben Gross had seven innings of solid work, scattering seven hits and allowing one earned run. Gross took a tough loss, however as the Tigers lost 3-1. A two-out double by Andrew Herrera gave Yale the lead for good as the Bulldogs were up 2-1 at this point. The Tigers could not get enough offense mustered against the impressive Yale pitching and lost the second game of the series.
Up next for the Tigers is a game at Monmouth, followed by four more Ivy League matchups over the weekend. On Saturday the Tigers will take on Dartmouth and then on Sunday the Tigers will be at Cambridge taking on Harvard.