BATON ROUGE, La. – Sunday, the Yale baseball team (1-2) upset top-ranked Louisiana State University (9-2) in a hard fought 8-7 victory.
After falling behind 6-0 by the fourth inning, the Elis began chipping away. After 5 consecutive singles from shortstop Cale Hanson, centerfielder Green Campbell, third baseman Richard Slenker, catcher Robert Baldwin, second baseman Nate Adams, and two sacrifice outs in the fifth inning, the score balanced to 6-4. The Tigers would extend the lead to 7-4 in the bottom half of the fifth after Chris Moates relieved starter Michael Coleman.
In the top of the sixth inning, right fielder Brent Lawson led off with a single to centerfield. He advanced to third on an error and then fielder's choice, but was thrown out at home on a failed suicide squeeze. Cale Hanson, whose fielder's choice advanced Lawson to second, scored on an RBI single from Baldwin to make the score 7-5. Moates held the Tigers scoreless in his final inning of work.
The Bulldogs kept clawing in the seventh, opening with a walk for left fielder Eric Hsieh and a double by Hunter. Designated hitter Kevin Fortunato sent a double down the left field line to tie the game at 7. Fortunato advanced to third on a sacrifice fly from Lawson, but was caught stealing at home on another botched suicide squeeze.
In the bottom half of the inning, Chris Lanham (1-0) kept the game even at 7, aided by an outfield assist from Eric Hsieh to cut down LSU pinch runner Jake Fraley at third base.
Campbell dropped a bunt single down the third base line to open the eighth inning, and moved to second and then third on sacrifices from Slenker (bunt) and Baldwin (ground out). The half-inning seemed to be over when Adams grounded to LSU pitcher Parker Bugg, but Bugg's throw was wild and allowed Campbell to score, giving Yale an 8-7 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Lanham induced two quick ground balls, but then gave up a double to Mark Laird. Yale looked to be in serious trouble when Alex Bregman hit a deep shot to centerfield, but Campbell made an athletic diving catch to end the inning and preserve the 8-7 lead.
Yale could not quite get on the board in the ninth inning, as Jacob Hunter was thrown out at home by Laird on a fly ball from Hanson.
Lanham recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth, but surrendered a double to Christian Ibarra. LSU's Andrew Stevenson reached base on an infield single that moved Ibarra to third, and stole second after Hanson relieved Lanham. With two outs and the winning run on second, Hanson got a fly ball from first baseman Tyler Moore to finish the game, earning the save.
After losing to LSU 19-0 in the first game of the series, few would have predicted a win from the Bulldogs later in the weekend. Head Coach John Stuper was happy with the fight from his players. "Just a great win for our program. Being down to the number 1 team in the country 6-0 and my guys simply never quit," said Stuper.
He credited the bullpen for keeping the game close and was quick to commend LSU's fans and atmosphere, saying that there is "not a better place to play than LSU. Big crowds, knowledgeable, and appreciative of good baseball."
For Green Campbell, a Louisiana native, the win was especially sweet. Said Campbell, "To be in my home state playing in front of my whole family and almost all of my best friends was just an incredible feeling. I grew up going to LSU baseball games and dreaming to play in Alex Box stadium, and to get a win there against all odds was a dream come true."
Stuper and his squad return to New Haven to face the University of New Haven on Wednesday at 3:30PM EST.
Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity