NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale baseball team nearly completed an historic comeback at Yale Field on Wednesday, falling behind 13-0 to perennial rival Harvard before storming back to within two runs in game one of an Ivy League doubleheader. Though the Bulldogs were eventually clipped, 14-12, in the opening game, the Elis continued their hot-hitting in the nightcap, salvaging a split with an 8-3 win. Junior designated hitter Trey Rallis went 4-for-7 in the twinbill, hitting two doubles in game one to break the Yale single-season record for two-baggers with 18. Rallis tops the 17 doubles hit by Ryan Lavarnway, who is currently playing in the Red Sox organization, in the 2007 season. Additionally, senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth hit a pair of home runs to become the sixth Yale player to hit 10 or more roundtrippers in a season. Lavarnway holds that record as well, hitting 14 home runs in that same 2007 campaign.
"I'm proud of the way that we battled back in game one," said Mazzuto Family Head Coach John Stuper. "But we started from too far behind. Our momentum carried over, and helped us take an early lead in the second game."
With the split, Yale moves to 18-21-1 overall with a 5-11 mark in the Ivy League. Harvard now sits at 15-23 on the season with an 8-8 tally against Ancient Eight competition. The Bulldogs and Crimson also split a doubleheader on Saturday, with Harvard taking game one, 7-4, and Yale answering with a 15-1 rout in the nightcap. The Elis' 39 runs in the four-game set are the most scored in an Ivy League series since a 44-run output in a sweep of Dartmouth in the 1998 season.
Larsson-Danforth's two home runs were his only two hits in the doubleheader, as he finished the day with three runs batted in to bring his team-high total to 42 RBI. The 6'6” slugger had his 18-game hitting streak snapped in game two in unceremonious fashion. Larsson-Danforth went just 0-1 in the game, as Crimson pitching walked him in his other three plate appearances- including one intentional walk and one free pass on four straight pitches. Yale's first baseman still made his mark in the contest with three stolen bases and two runs scored.
Juniors Andy Megee and Andrew Kolmar each went 4-for-8 with three RBI on the day. Megee also drilled his seventh home run of the season as well as his 12th double. Freshman Cam Squires tripled in each game, as the speedy centerfielder was the fourth Bulldog to knock in three runs in the twinbill. Sophomore shortstop Matt Schmidt added three hits, including his first career home run.
The Crimson built their huge game-one lead in three innings, posting five runs in the first frame, three in the second and five more in the third to claim a 13-0 advantage. Freshman right-hander Avery Lanman came on in relief to get the final out of the third inning, then posted two more scoreless frames as Yale stormed back with 11 runs in the ensuing three frames.
Freshman Chris Piwinski started the offense with a single to right field, and Schmidt followed two batters later with a base hit that moved the catcher to third. Squires then blasted a triple over the centerfielder's head that cleared the bases and put the Bulldogs on the board, trailing 13-2. Yale tacked on another run in the inning via a two-out single by Megee.
Rallis led off the next inning with his record-tying double, and sophomore Charlie Neil followed with a double of his own to put another dent in the Cantabs' lead. After Piwinski sacrificed Neil to third, Kolmar rocketed a single to third base to bring him home. The next batter was Schmidt, who deposited the first pitch he saw from starter Max Perlman over the wall in left field to cut the deficit to 13-7.
Yale hung another four runs on the board in the fifth inning, as Megee singled and Larsson-Danforth followed with a two-run home run to right field. The first baseman's ninth roundtripper of the season sent Perlman to the locker room, as Eric Eadington came on in relief. The Elis continued their rally against the left-hander, as Rallis, Neil and Piwinski each greeted him with a single to load the bases with none out in the inning. Kolmar kept the runners moving with a single through the left side to plate Rallis. Eadington avoided further trouble by inducing a double play, though the twin killing did allow Neil to score and cut the lead 13-11.
After the Crimson tacked on a much-needed insurance run in the top of the sixth inning, Larsson-Danforth took the run right back with a solo, opposite field home run in the bottom of the inning. Larsson-Danforth's second homer of the game ran the score to 14-12 entering the seventh and final inning.
Sophomore right-hander Eric Shultz set the Crimson down in the order in the seventh to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance, but Brent Suter, who also started and won game one on Saturday, pitched a scoreless inning as the Cantabs survived with a 14-12 victory.
Sophomore right-hander Pat Ludwig (3-5) lasted just 0.2 innings for Yale, allowing five runs on five hits with three walks to take the loss. Perlman (1-0) got the win despite surrendering nine earned runs on 11 hits in 4+ innings of work. The save was the first of the year for Suter, who allowed two hits and no runs in one inning on the hill.
The Bulldogs were the aggressors to start the second game, as Larrson-Danforth drew a walk to lead off the second inning. Rallis then singled, and a double steal moved each baserunner 90 feet. Singles from sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner and Kolmar each accounted for a run, and Squires beat out a potential inning-ending double play to pick up an RBI and give Yale a 3-0 lead.
Larsson-Danforth and Rallis walked and converted another double steal in the third inning, and Neil pushed a run across with an RBI groundout. Brenner followed with his second RBI single of the day to extend the Bulldogs advantage to 5-0. A squeeze bunt by Elmore and Megee's long home run accounted for two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to give Yale a comfortable 7-0 edge.
The Crimson would get to Yale starter Christopher O'Hare in the fifth inning with a solo home run by Marcus Way, and Sam Franklin and Sean O'Hara each picked up RBI singles in the sixth. Yale's southpaw starter would induce a double play to get out of the inning, and Megee took a run back in the bottom of the frame with an RBI double to score Elmore, who had hit a two-bagger of his own to get into scoring position. The 8-3 score would prove to be the final tally as Yale took game two from the rival Crimson.
O'Hare (2-0) scattered eight hits and three earned runs over 6.1 innings to earn the win. The freshman left-hander struck out two batters and did not issue a walk. Senior right-hander Chris Finneran hurled 2.2 scoreless frames of relief to finish out the contest.
"So much in baseball depends on the guy on the mound, and Chris O'Hare was excellent today," said Stuper. "He put up zeroes in the first few innings, and that gave us a chance to take a lead."
Andrew Ferreira (1-3) allowed five earned runs on four hits in 2.2 innings of work to take the loss for the Cantabs. He struck out two batters and walked four.
The Bulldogs will close out 2010 with a four-game set against Ivy League foe Brown. The series begins with a Friday doubleheader in Providence and will conclude on Saturday with Senior Day at Yale Field. Both twinbills are slated for 1 p.m.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity