Yale Pulls Ahead With Sweep of Princeton
WEST HAVEN, Conn. - Yale (12-13, 5-3) won two close low-scoring contests over Princeton (9-14, 4-2) by scores of 2-1 and 4-2 Sunday, adding to its lead in the Red Rolfe Division. Chris Lanham and David Hickey gave solid starts to power the Bulldogs to victory.
Dartmouth, Harvard, and Brown all were swept as well, giving an extra two games of breathing room to Yale as it prepares for Red Rolfe play. Yale is three games ahead of Dartmouth in the standings.
Game 1 Summary
The formula seemed awfully familar for Yale: let Chris Lanham win a tight pitcher's duel. Lanham proved last week's gem against Columbia was no fluke, allowing one run on five hits through 6 1/3 innings. Yale only scored one run in that time, however, so Lanham received a no decision as the game moved into extra frames.
Lanham battled with Princeton starter Cameron Mingo, who also threw well. Through the first three innings, neither Yale nor Princeton had scored, and each only had one hit.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Yale finally cracked the scoreboard. Richard Slenker was hit by pitch, and advanced to second base on a well-executed bunt from Harrison White. A wild pitch moved Slenker to third, and Green Campbell dropped down a marvelous bunt single to score Slenker and make the score 1-0.
The fifth and sixth frames were scoreless, but Lanham got himself into trouble in the seventh. A single and a walk took Lanham out of the game, relieved by Cale Hanson. Hanson surrendered a single to tie the game at 1, with runners on the corners and just one out. Hanson beared down, striking out a batter and inducing a ground ball to hold the tie.
Hanson retired the Tigers in order in the eighth after Yale left the score at 1-1.
In the bottom of the eighth, Robert Baldwin opened with a hard-hit single to left field. When the outfielder misplayed the hit, Baldwin was able to advance to second with none out. Nate Adams did his job with a sacrifice bunt to put Baldwin 90 feet from victory.
An interesting tactical decision backfired severely for Princeton, as Mingo intentionally walked both Hanson and David Toups to load the bases with one out. Princeton brought in relief pitcher Jonathan York and moved an outfielder into the infield to try for the force out at home. But York was wild and walked Slenker, ending the game for a 2-1 Yale walk-off victory. It was Slenker's second walk-off plate appearance in as many days.
Game 2 Summary
In the second, nine-inning, contest, David Hickey shouldered the load with a two run, five hit performance through 6 1/3 innings.
Princeton jumped out ahead, scoring in each of the first two innings, but Hickey settled down to keep the Elis in the game.
In the third inning, Baldwin singled to left field. Adams laid down a perfect drag bunt single to the second baseman to set the table for Hanson. Hanson bunted to sacrifice himself, but the third basemen bobbled the ball to load the bases. Sacrifice flies from Slenker and Kevin Fortunato tied the game at 2-2.
Hickey and Princeton starter Keelan Smithers kept the score knotted at 2 until the sixth inning when Yale broke free. Fortunato dropped a bloop single to right-center, and Eric Hsieh put him in scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Brent Lawson was intentionally walked, and Alec Hoeschel was hit by pitch. Robert Baldwin lined a double down the left field line, plating two and taking a 4-2 lead for Yale.
Hickey allowed two baserunners in the seventh inning, so Chris Moates came in to close the deal. Moates induced a short tapper, but he slipped and fell to load the bases with one out. Moates redeemed himself in the field, however. The next batter lined a ball up the middle, which Moates snared and threw to first to double up the runner and end the inning.
Moates shut down Princeton again in the ninth, with some help from a skillfully executed double play from Hoeschel. Moates earned the save in the 4-2 victory.
Yale plays next in a doubleheader on Wednesday vs. Fairfield.
Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity