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Baseball drops two of three in series versus Yale

Two Princeton players jump and hit elbows in celebration with teammates in dugout behind.
Princeton Baseball celebrating after a run scores vs Yale.
Photo courtesy of @PUTigerBaseball/X.

After last weekend’s 2–1 series win over Cornell featuring strong performances from senior first-baseman Kyle Vinci and sophomore pitcher Justin Kim, the Princeton baseball team (7–15, 3–3 Ivy League) played their second Ivy League series against the Yale Bulldogs (7–14, 3–3) at Princeton’s Clarke Field. Yale came into this series on the heels of a series loss against Dartmouth, in which the Bulldogs narrowly lost games two and three. 

Strong pitching gets the Tigers a 4–3 victory in game one


After an excellent outing last weekend against Cornell, in which he gave up three runs in seven innings and led the Tigers to a victory, Kim took the mound in game one. Kim had a similarly stellar outing in game one of this series, in which he gave up only two runs and four hits in six pitched innings.

Reid Easterly was the Bulldog’s starting pitcher. Easterly is Yale’s top pitcher, team captain, and was a first-team All-Ivy League player in 2023.

After a quick first inning, the Tigers got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning. With runners on first and third, senior shortstop Nick DiPietrantonio attempted to steal second. With the throw going to second in an attempt to tag DiPietrantonio, senior first baseman Kyle Vinci was able to sneak home from third, giving Princeton a 1–0 lead.

DiPietrantonio was later able to add to the scoring himself in the bottom of the fourth, when he sent a pitch over the center field fence to extend the Tigers’ lead to 2–0. 

The Bulldogs finally scored in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single from utility player Davis Hanson that drove a runner home from second. Yale tied the game in the sixth after a routine throw to first base got by Vinci and allowed the runner from third base to score. 

In relief of Kim, the Tigers brought out junior pitcher Jacob Faulkner in the seventh inning. Faulkner, whose distinctive ‘submarine style’ pitching certainly draws the attention of many, has also seen great success as a pitcher with Princeton. He broke the Princeton record for single-season appearances last season and had another strong performance in this matchup.


“The positives [from this series] were terrific outings from Kim, Episcope and as usual Faulkner,” head coach Scott Bradley told The Daily Princetonian.

Princeton broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with an RBI single from senior outfielder Matt Scannell, scoring first-year third baseman Jake Kernodle to give the Tigers a narrow 3–2 lead. Later, the Tigers added insurance to their lead with an RBI groundout to extend the lead to 4–2. This was all the Tigers would need, as the Tigers held on for a 4–3 victory. 

Tigers blown out in game two 

Game two of the series between the Tigers and the Bulldogs saw a drastic shift in momentum from game one. Sophomore pitcher Will Sword started the game on the mound for Princeton, whereas Daniel Cohen pitched for Yale.

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Yale struck first in the second inning with a sacrifice fly from utility player Max Imhoff, taking a 1–0 lead. With an acrobatic Odell Beckham Jr.-like grab at the wall, junior left fielder Caden Shapiro stole a home run to end the top of the inning.

Princeton quickly responded in the second inning with an RBI double from DiPietrantonio, scoring Vinci to tie the game. Soon after, junior right fielder Jordan Kelly was able to bring Koonin home to give the Tigers a 2–1 lead. 

Despite Princeton’s strong start offensively, Yale was able to quickly and effectively respond. Yale tied the game at 2–2 in the second inning and took a 3–2 lead in the fourth with a homer from infielder Alec Atkinson. A two-run homer in the fourth inning from outfielder Kaiden Dossa later gave Yale a commanding 5–2 lead. 

Yale’s scoring rampage continued throughout the game. In the sixth inning, Yale added another five runs to increase their lead to 13–2. Later in the seventh inning, Imhoff hit a grand slam as Yale went on a tear, as the game ended 22–2. 

Tigers pitch well in game three, but fall short in comeback effort

Coming off a disappointing loss, the Tigers sent first-year pitcher Sean Episcope to the mound in desperate need of some innings. Episcope delivered on that front, pitching 6.2 innings of quality baseball. Unfortunately for him, run support was hard to come by and the Tigers faltered yet again.

After allowing an unearned run in the first, Episcope and the Tigers settled in over the next few innings, allowing only a solo homer in the third while striking out seven through three innings. Yale led 2–0 as the third inning came to a close and Princeton looked to close the gap.

The fourth inning was a tough one for Episcope, as a string of four straight hits from Yale plated two more to make it 4–0. The Princeton coaches stuck with Episcope, however, and were rewarded with three more innings of quality pitching. Meanwhile, the Tigers threatened to score but were kept just barely at bay, as a fifth inning rally ended with a bases-loaded flyout from Shapiro and no runs scored as Yale starter Colton Shaw continued to cruise. Princeton finally got to Shaw in the bottom of the sixth, as sophomore catcher Jake Bold deposited a center-cut fastball far over the left field wall to put the Tigers on the board. 

In need of runs, the Tigers mustered just one more in the seventh when junior catcher Kaden Kram continued his standout performance with a homer to left field that cleared the wall by about as much as Bold’s earlier home run. That’s all the Tigers would score for the game, as Shaw finished the seventh before being pulled for reliever Tate Evans. Evans put in a dominant performance, striking out six batters across two innings and slamming the door on the Tigers to end the series.

After this series, the Tigers dropped to 3–3 in conference play. In the early stages of the Ivy League season, that record puts them in the middle of the pack along with Yale and rival Penn (11–13, 3–3 Ivy). The Tigers will play a tune-up game against Seton Hall (16–12, 0–0 Big East) on Wednesday. These out-of-conference games offer unique opportunities to keep the team fresh during weekdays, when most Ivy League sports are not competing.

“The Seton Hall game, like other mid-week games, gives us the opportunity to play,” Coach Bradley told the ‘Prince.’ “Baseball is the type of game that needs to be played — practice is fine, but live game action can’t be simulated.”

After Wednesday’s game, the team will make an important trip to Providence to face the Brown Bears (7–14, 2–4 Ivy) over the weekend. In this first series of away play against Ivy League opponents, Princeton hopes to capitalize on an opponent that was swept by Penn to open conference play, before the Bears beat up on the last-place Harvard (4–16, 2–4 Ivy) this weekend. 

“We’re just not swinging the bats the way we’re capable of,” Bradley continued. “We need to get the bats rolling.”

As the weather warms, the Tigers will need their bats to warm with it, or they risk being left behind in what will be a fiercely contested regular-season title race.

Joseph Uglialoro is a staff Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’

Joe McGonigle is a Sports contributor for the ‘Prince.’

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