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Bulldogs Sweep Doubleheader at Dartmouth

Kumar Nambiar. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kumar Nambiar. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Kumar Nambiar, the reigning Ivy League Pitcher of the Week, put together another marvelous start on Sunday to help the Bulldogs sweep a doubleheader at Dartmouth.  In doing so, it kept them alive for a chance at the their fourth conference championship series. 

Yale won game one 7-4 and behind Nambiar's gem won the second game 4-0.  With the victories, Yale improved to 10-8 in league play, took two of three in the series and remained in the hunt for a conference postseason berth.  

Nambiar pitched a two-hit, complete-game shutout in Hanover.  He struck out nine without walking a batter and faced three over the minimum.  

"Last week I said Kumar's three-hit shutout at Penn was in the top five pitching performances in my tenure at Yale," Yale head coach John Stuper said. "Then he spins another gem. He was in total control the whole game. A two hit shutout in Hanover is unheard of. He has had the command of a big league pitcher his last two starts. Both on the road.  Eighteen innings. Five hits. No runs. Unbelievable."

Last week, he tossed a three-hit shutout at Penn, a team ranked second in the nation in team batting average.  Nambiar today might have topped last week's outing.

"The best back to back starts I have ever seen," Stuper added.

The Bulldogs gave Nambiar all the run support he needed in the first.  Mason LaPlante delivered a one-out single and Tim DeGraw singled to left.

LaPlante took third on the single.  The two executed a double steal to score LaPlante and give Yale a 1-0 lead.

Pierce Blohowiak in the second doubled down the left field line to score Tom Fuller, who had two hits in the game.  

In the fourth, Fuller lifted a sac fly to center to score Griffin Dey and make it 3-0.  Later in the inning, Dai Dai Otaka scored Jake Gehri on a sac fly. 

Nambiar retired the first 15 batters he faced and ultimately cruised to his third win of the season. 

"I can not ask for more from this team," Nambiar said.  "I got great run support from the offense and fantastic defense. I have been using all four of my pitches to keep hitters off balance and a big key has been throwing strikes consistently and attacking hitters. It is great to finish my senior year this way."

In game one, Alex Stiegler earned his fifth win of the season and third in Ivy League play.  Stiegler took a shutout into the ninth, allowed four runs (three earned), seven hits and struck out six.  

"Alex was awesome in the first game," Stuper said.  "He consistently gives us quality starts and a chance to win." 

Rohan Handa came on in relief to get the final three outs in the ninth.  

Yale jumped out to a 6-0 lead and scored in the first.  Whiteman led off the game with a double and scored on a fielding error.

DeGraw started a rally in the fifth with an infield hit.  Dey singled to left center and DeGraw advanced to third.  

Gehri followed with a double to score DeGraw and move Dey to third.  Gehri advanced to third and Dey scored on a balk to make it 3-0.  Cal Christofori capped the scoring in the inning and filed out to center to score Gehri.

Yale scored two more in the sixth on a DeGraw double to score Blohowiak. Dey followed with an infield hit and moved DeGraw to third.  DeGraw scored when Dey induced a rundown on an attempted steal to make it 6-0.

DeGraw finished 2 for 5 in the game with three runs scored and a RBI.  Whiteman, Dey and Gehri also had two hits in the game.

Stiegler and Handa benefited from defense.  With one out in the sixth, Dartmouth had first and third and hit into a 6-4-3 double play.  Yale also ended the game with another 6-4-3 double play with the tying run at the plate. 

The Bulldogs entered the weekend ranked fourth in the nation in team fielding percetnage.  They lead the Ivy League.

"People continue to remark about our defense," Stuper added. "Our guys make plays other teams don't. They're fun to watch."

Yale is off until May 11.  The Bulldogs will host Princeton and begin a three-game series to close out the regular season schedule. 

"We are still alive with three games left," Stuper said. "I know my guys will play hard no matter the situation. We'll have to sweep Princeton and get some help. I've seen stranger things happen."

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity