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Bulldogs Score Three in Ninth to Beat Harvard

Tim DeGraw. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Tim DeGraw. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

The Bulldogs scored three in the ninth at Harvard on Sunday to earn a come-from-behind, 8-7 victory to close out the weekend series with a much-needed win.

Tim DeGraw delivered a two-RBI single in Yale's last at bat and Griffin Dey lifted the go-ahead sac fly later in the inning to score Mason LaPlante with the eventual winning run.   Yale showed a bounce-back ability after dropping two tough loses yesterday.

"I've been coaching at Yale for 27 years," Yale head coach John Stuper said.  "Never have I been prouder of one of my teams. Not only because we lost two yesterday, but the way in which we lost the first game, would have buried a lot of teams. Down two in the ninth, with the league's best closer on the mound, our guys put up three against a guy who was 11 for 11 in save opportunities. What a gutsy come back." 

With the win, Yale improved to 5-4 in conference play, while Harvard dropped to 6-3 in Ivy League competition. 

First-year Ben Gibbs earned the victory in relief of Yale starter Kumar Nambiar.  Gibbs came on the fifth, pitched three and 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and allowed only two hits. 

Rohan Handa, another a first-year pitcher, pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game to earn his first save.  

"Really proud of my two rookie pitchers," Stuper added. "Ben held them in check to give us a chance to win, and Rohan closed it out." 

DeGraw had a four RBI day, including a two-run single in the third as part of a four-run frame.  First-year Jake Gehri also had a two-RBI single to give Yale a 4-1 lead.  

Harvard took two back in the bottom of the third and scored four in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead.  Gibbs held down the Crimson and kept the Bulldogs within striking distance to setup the ninth-inning rally.

Yale's last at-bat rally started without a hit.  Harry Hegeman led off with a walk, and Simon Whiteman and LaPlante -- the next two batters -- were both hit by a pitch. 

With the table set, DeGraw singled up the middle to score Hegeman and Whiteman.  DeGraw finished up the week going 8 for 20 with at least one hit in all five games.  

DeGraw and LaPlante advanced on a wild pitch to set up Dey's sac fly.  The comeback capped a wild weekend series in which the Bulldogs lost a large lead on a walk-off, were held scoreless in game two and made an impressive comeback in their final at bat.

"Probably the craziest series I've ever seen in Cambridge," Stuper said. 

The Bulldogs host Columbia next weekend for a three-game series beginning on Saturday.  The Lions will enter the series 6-3 in league play. 

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity