Yale Tops Harvard in Two Walk-Off Nailbiters

Yale celebrates a game-winning hit by Green Campbell. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Yale celebrates a game-winning hit by Green Campbell. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Yale (17-19, 9-7 Ivy) walked Harvard (10-24, 5-11) off in back-to-back extra inning games Sunday, winning by scores of 1-0 and 7-6. Chris Lanham and Nate Adams had huge days that put the Bulldogs in the pole position of the Red Rolfe Division race. Both games were tight the whole way through – 30 of the 36 half-innings began in a tie.


Game 1 Summary


Chris Lanham shut down opposing hitters in a tight first game to give Yale the win. Sound familiar? This has been the storyline for all three of his conference starts, each of which were complete game wins. His two-hit shutout today drops his conference ERA to a minute 0.32, which leads the Ivy League, as does his 6-1 record.


Lanham and Harvard starter Sean Poppen battled for all of regulation, putting up seven full innings of zeroes.


Yale couldn't capitalize on its scoring opportunities early, plating none after loading the bases with one out in the third inning. In the fifth inning, Tom O'Neill singled to left field and then stole second base to set the table for Eric Hsieh. Hsieh singled to center, but O'Neill was thrown out at the plate to keep the scoreless tie.


Lanham didn't give up his second hit until the seventh inning, when he surrendered a leadoff single. After a ground out, Lanham intentionally walked a batter to set up the double play with two outs. The move worked to perfection, as a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning to keep the score 0-0.


In the bottom of the eighth, Hsieh singled to right field to open the inning. Cale Hanson bunted Hsieh over to second with one out. After Hsieh moved to third on a wild pitch, both Richard Slenker and David Toups were walked (Toups intentionally). Robert Baldwin came up big with a sacrifice fly to left center field to score Hsieh for the winning run.


Lanham's complete line for the day was no runs, two hits, five strikeouts, one walk (intentional), and one hit by pitch.


Game 2 Summary


In a higher scoring but equally close second game, Yale came back to score the final four runs and win 7-6. Nate Adams went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs, and a walk.


Yale jumped out ahead to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning. With no outs, Slenker reached base on an error that would prove crucial later in the inning. Toups took Slenker off the basepaths with a fielder's choice, then stole second. Baldwin and Adams singled, the latter of which scored Toups. O'Neill came up big with a two-out double that plated both Adams and Baldwin to take the 3-0 lead. Due to the error, all three runs were unearned to Harvard starter Danny Moskovits.


In the top of the third, Yale starter Michael Coleman surrendered three runs to tie the game. After a single, double, another single, and a wild pitch, the game was tied once again, this time at 3-3.


In the sixth inning, Coleman allowed a double, then hit a batter. Campbell came in to relieve him, but didn't have much early success. After walking and hitting a batter each, Campbell surrendered a 2 RBI single to give Harvard a 6-3 lead.


But the Bulldogs came back when it counted, tying the game again in the eighth inning. After a defensive miscue in the previous half-inning, Brent Lawson bounced back with a hard single up the middle. Toups singled to add a runner, and was replaced by Baldwin on a fielder's choice. Adams rocketed a 2-RBI triple down the right field line to cut the lead to one run. O'Neill followed with a double, scoring Adams and tying the game at 6-6.


Hanson took over for Campbell on the mound with one out in the ninth inning and shut out Harvard for the ninth and tenth innings. Yale got a runner to third base in the ninth, but couldn't score him to win the game.


In the tenth inning, Derek Brown blasted a single up the middle, and was followed by an O'Neill hit by pitch. After a wild pitch, each runner moved up a base. Campbell stepped up to hit a single up the middle, scoring Brown for the winning run.


With the wins, Yale remained in first place in the Red Rolfe Division. Dartmouth, which is two games back of the Bulldogs, plays Harvard next week as Yale takes on Brown. Ignoring Dartmouth's games, Yale could ensure a playoff berth by winning three of the four games against Brown.


Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity