NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After a late rally fell short in game one of Saturday's Ivy League doubleheader against Harvard, the Yale baseball team ensured that another comeback bid would not be necessary in the nightcap with the Crimson. The Bulldogs posted seven runs in the first inning and led by a score of 13-0 after four frames en route to a 15-1 victory. Nine different Bulldogs had hits in the rout, led by a 3-for-3 showing by junior designated hitter Trey Rallis and a 4-for-5 performance from sophomore shortstop Matt Schmidt. Junior left-hander Vinny Lally did more than enough to make the huge lead hold up, carrying a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and earning his team-best sixth victory of the season. Harvard held off the Bulldogs for a 7-4 win in the seven-inning first game.
With the split, Yale moves to 17-19-1 overall and 4-10 in the Ivy League. Having now played as many games as they did in the entirety of the 2009 season, the Bulldogs have posted a four-game improvement in the win column. Harvard now stands at 14-22 overall and 7-7 in Ancient Eight play.
“That second game was our most complete effort of the season,” said Mazzuto Family Head Coach John Stuper. “Vinny was outstanding on the mound, and we hit a lot of different pitchers. Defensively, we were very solid, and Matt Schmidt made as good a play as you'll see at shortstop.”
Schmidt's diving effort to rob Dillon O'Neill in the fifth inning help keep Lally's no-hit bid alive into the sixth.
Including his 4-for-5 showing in game two, Schmidt went 5-for-8 at the dish with three doubles and three RBI. Sophomore outfielder Charlie Neil reached base in all eight of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and five walks in the twinbill. Freshman centerfielder Cam Squires had three RBI on the day, while five different Elis drove in two runs apiece.
Lally (6-2) scattered three hits and one earned run in seven innings of work. The junior southpaw struck out six batters and walked five.
Yale jumped all over Harvard starter Conner Hulse in game one, as six batters reached safely before the sophomore right-hander retired a batter. Senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth and Rallis each had RBI singles, and Neil drew a walk with the bags full to push a run across. Sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner made the first out of the frame, but it was a productive one as a sacrifice fly to right field allowed Larsson-Danforth to trot home. After Schmidt doubled down the right field line to score two more Bulldogs, Harvard Head Coach Joe Walsh pulled Hulse in favor of Jonah Klees. The first pitch from the righty was sent back up the middle by Squires, scoring Schmidt and giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage after just one inning of play.
Leading off for the second straight inning, junior second baseman Gant Elmore once again got aboard to start up the Yale offense and promptly moved to second on a groundout. Three batters later, Rallis delivered on the RBI opportunity with a double to left field. Yale's designated hitter then manufactured another run, moving to third on a wild pitch and coming home on the play when Tyler Albright's throw from the behind the plate sailed into right field. The lead ran to a comfortable 10-0 clip in the next frame as Schmidt doubled once again and later scored on an Elmore base hit.
While the run support was very much appreciated, Lally got the job done on his own through the first four innings. He faced the minimum, with two walks erased via a caught stealing and a double play, through three innings and continued to hold the Cantabs hitless through four.
The Bulldogs' offense was not finished, however, as Rallis made it four straight leadoff batters to reach for Yale with a double to start the bottom of the fourth inning. Neil then singled to move Rallis 90 feet away from scoring, and Brenner then connected on his second sacrifice fly of the game to score the game's 11th run. A run-scoring single from Schmidt and an RBI groundout by Squires plated two more in the inning as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 13-0.
After each side went hitless in the fifth, Kyle Larrow slapped a groundball through the right side of the infield to break up Lally's no-hit bid with one down in the sixth. That hit would be the only base-knock the southpaw would allow in the inning, as he induced a strikeout and a lineout to end the sixth inning with the shutout intact.
A Chris Rouches RBI single got the Crimson on the board in the top of the seventh inning, but Lally finished strong by getting Larrow to groundout to cap a masterful seven-inning gem.
Yale would tack on two more runs in the seventh inning, as freshman Chris Piwinski smacked a two-run single to bring the score to its eventual final of 15-1. Senior right-hander Robert Gruber pitched a scoreless eighth inning and sophomore righty Eric Shultz struck out the side (all looking) in the ninth to close out a dominant Bulldogs' victory.
“I think the guys won that one for Mo,” said Stuper, referring to junior outfielder Andrew Moore. Moore was not with the team, as his father, Michael, passed away unexpectedly on Friday morning.
Hulse (1-3) lasted just 0.2 innings for Harvard, allowing seven earned runs on four hits. He also hit a batter and walked two in his 34-pitch outing.
Earlier in the day, Harvard took a 7-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh and final frame, before the Bulldogs mounted a furious comeback.
Squires, whose RBI double accounted for Yale's first run, dropped down a bunt single to start up the last inning. He then advanced to third base as Schmidt followed with a two-bagger down the right field line. After Harvard pulled starter Brent Suter, who had kept the Elis in check for much of the day, Elmore executed a bunt single off of Will Keuper to bring Squires home and cut the deficit to 7-2. A sacrifice fly off the bat of junior third baseman Andy Megee scored Schmidt, and a Rallis single put runners on the corners with one out. Larsson-Danforth followed with another single that ran the score to 7-4, and, after a Brenner pop-out, Neil walked to loaded the bases and bring the potential winning run to the plate in junior Andrew Kolmar. Coach Walsh brought on Marcus Way in relief of Keuper, and Way struck out Kolmar as the Cantabs survived with a 7-4 victory.
Suter (3-2) allowed three runs on nine hits in 6+ innings of work. He struck out five batters, walked one and hit one. Way (1) struck out the one batter he faced to earn the save.
Senior right-hander Joe Castaldi (0-3) allowed six earned runs on eight hits to take the loss. The Yale captain struck out four batters, walked one, hit two and threw a wild pitch over the first 3.1 frames. Senior right-hander Chris Finneran tossed 3.2 innings of effective relief, allowing just one run on three hits to facilitate the Yale comeback attempt. Finneran struck out two batters, walked two and uncorked a wild pitch.
Video Highlights by David Dikranian: