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Bulldogs Rally to Doubleheader Split at Hartford

Trygg Larsson-Danforth (Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Trygg Larsson-Danforth (Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The Yale baseball team staged comebacks in both ends of a doubleheader at the University of Hartford on Friday afternoon. After a late rally was not enough to avoid an 8-7 defeat in game one, late-inning home runs from junior Andrew Moore and senior Trygg Larsson-Danforth ensured that the comeback in game two would hold up, as the Bulldogs earned a split of the twinbill with a 12-7 victory. Moore and Larsson-Danforth both homered twice and drove in six runs on the day.

With the split, Yale moves to 7-4-1 on the season. Hartford now sits at 3-4.

Sophomore right-hander Pat Ludwig (2-1) earned the win on the mound in game two, allowing nine hits and four earned runs in five innings of work. Senior right-hander Robert Gruber recorded one out in a hitless outing to bridge the gap to junior right-hander Andy Megee, who recorded the final five outs to notch his first career save. Steve Sobocinski (0-2) took the loss for Hartford.

In game one, senior right-hander Matthew Smith (0-1) took the loss for Yale. Freshman southpaw Christopher O’Hare made the start of the Bulldogs, surrendering just one earned run and five hits in six innings on the hill. Mike Thatcher (2-0) tallied the win in relief for the Hawks.

Junior Trey Rallis had three hits in the double-dip for Yale, and sophomore Zach Tobolowsky hit his first home run of the season as a part of the Bulldogs’ game-one rally. Yale was also 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts, led by two swiped bases from Megee, who played third base in both games prior to getting the call in relief.

In the first game, slated for seven innings, the home team got on the board first as an RBI groundout from Rodger Wilmot scored Matt Walker, who led off the frame with a double. The Hawks added two unearned tallies in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead that would hold until the top of the sixth frame.

In that inning, Larsson-Danforth led off with a single and was replaced at first by sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner via a fielder’s choice. Two batters later, Tobolowsky sent a Chris Greiner offering over the left field wall at Fiondella Field to trim the Hartford to lead to one run at 3-2.

After O’Hare set the Hawks down in order in the sixth, freshman pinch-hitter Josh Scharff started Yale’s seventh inning rally with a walk. Freshman Cam Squires pinch ran for his classmate and was moved over to second base via a Gant Elmore sacrifice bunt. Squires then moved to third on a Megee groundout, as Rallis came up to the plate with the Bulldogs just one out from defeat. Rallis delivered for the Elis, knotting the game at 3-3 with a single up the middle.

Sophomore right-hander Greg Lyons kept the Hawks at bay for the next three innings, taking the game to the 10th frame with the score still deadlocked at 3-3. Larsson-Danforth singled with one out to start up the offense, and Brenner then walked to push him into scoring position. The next batter was Moore, who crushed a three-run home run to left centerfield to give Yale its first lead of the afternoon at 6-3. Tobolowsky followed with a single and came home on a triple from Squires, who stayed in the game at centerfield after his pinch-running appearance.

The 7-3 lead would not hold, however, as pinch hitter Jared Canney picked up an RBI single to start the scoring in the home half of the 10th frame. After three consecutive walks loaded the bases and pushed another runner across the plate, Andrew Siano capped the Hartford comeback with a three-run double that gave the home team an 8-7 win.

Yale appeared unfazed by the defeat, as Larsson-Danforth put Yale out in front in a hurry in the night-cap, smacking a two-run home run off of Sobocinski to give the Elis a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Hartford would strike next, getting on the board courtesy of a triple by reigning America East Player of the Week Simon Kudernatsch, who then raced home on a passed ball to tie the score at 2-2. A single from Mike Amendola then put Hartford in the lead in the fifth inning, 3-2. The Hawks would go on to score another pair of runs in the fifth via a Mike Aldrich base-hit to claim a 5-2 lead.

With just six outs left to work with, the Bulldogs rallied in the top of the sixth, started off by a one-out walk drawn by Megee. Rallis then singled, and Larsson-Danforth sent a hard-hit groundball to second base. The Hartford second baseman ranged to his left but couldn’t come up with the hard shot, as the error allowed Megee to score. Brenner then singled to drive in pinch runner Matt Schmidt, and Moore capped the rally with a roundtripper- his second go-ahead three-run home run of the day.

Hartford got a run back in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the score to 7-6, as a dropped fly ball allowed Wilmot to score an unearned run. Megee then came on in relief, issuing a walk to Kudernatsch to load the bases and then getting the second out of the inning on an Amendola lineout. With the bags still full of Hawks, a wild pitch got away from Megee as Cory Beahm dashed home representing the would-be tying run. Brenner played the carom of the ball perfectly, however, and Megee blocked the plate and applied the tie to preserve the one-run lead going into the seventh and final frame.

Sophomore Charlie Neil led off the seventh inning with a double as Yale looked to add insurance runs to its 7-6 advantage. Elmore then knocked Neil in with a two-bagger of his own, and Megee and Schmidt then walked to load the bases with none out. The next batter was Larsson-Danforth, and the 2009 All-Ivy first teamer came up huge for the Bulldogs with a towering grand slam that cleared the right field wall and the fence behind it to extend Yale’s cushion to a more comfortable 12-6 tally.

The Hawks would add a run in their last chance, but Megee induced a Siano groundout to slam the door on a 12-7 victory for the Elis.

Yale will travel back to West Hartford tomorrow for another pair of seven-inning games against the Hawks. Junior left-handers Brook Hart and Vinny Lally are slated to start on the hill for Yale.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity