April 14, 2009

Harvard Edges Bulldogs, 7-4 and 3-2

April 14, 2009

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Yale baseball team played Harvard to a dead heat deep into both ends of a doubleheader on Tuesday at O'Donnell Field in Cambridge, Mass. However, despite allowing just 11 hits on the day, the Bulldogs were edged by the Crimson in both games of the twin bill by scores of 7-4 and 3-2.

Yale now sits at 10-16 overall and 5-7 in the Ivy League. With the sweep, Harvard improved to 10-21 on the season with an 8-4 mark in Ancient Eight play.

Four Bulldogs had two hits on the day, including junior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth, who drove in three runs and swatted his team-best sixth home run of the season.

In game one, the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick lead with two runs in the top of the first inning. After senior captain Stefan Schropp led off with a base hit, sophomore second baseman Gant Elmore dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt that resulted in a throwing error to put both Elmore and Schropp in scoring position with no outs. Sophomore third baseman Andy Megee cashed in on the RBI opportunity with a groundout that brought Schropp home with the game's first run. Freshman left fielder Charlie Neil followed two batters later with a base hit to score Elmore and give the Elis a 2-0 lead.

After Lally tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the first inning, Yale added to its lead in the top of the second frame. Freshman right fielder Zach Tobolowsky started things off with a single, and advanced to second base on a groundout by senior catcher Davis Stanley. After Tobolowsky took third on a wild pitch, Schropp drove a deep fly ball to right field to bring him home and extend the Bulldogs' lead to 3-0.

The Crimson benefited from an unearned run to get on the board in the bottom of the third inning. John Roberts drew a one-out walk to get aboard, and moved all the way to third on a Yale throwing error. He then came home on a Taylor Meehan base hit to cut the lead to 3-1.

A trio of Crimson walks started the fourth inning for Harvard, and two of those base runners promptly came home on a double by Dillon O'Neill. A single by Chris Rouches followed to plate another run and give Harvard its first lead of the day at 4-3.

The Bulldogs answered immediately in the top of the fifth inning, as Elmore roped a one-out double to put himself in scoring position. Two batters later, Larsson-Danforth delivered with a single up the middle that knotted the score once again at 4-4.

Harry Douglas drew a walk to start Harvard's half of the fifth inning and stole second to move into scoring position. O'Neill then drew a two-out walk, and Rouches belted a three-run home run that proved to be the difference maker as it pushed the score to its eventual final of 7-4.

Dan Berardo pitched two innings of relief for Harvard to earn the win and improve to 1-4. Tom Stack-Babich earned his first save with a scoreless seventh inning of work. Junior right-hander Chris Finneran took the loss for Yale to fall to 0-3.

"We just couldn't throw strikes," said John Stuper, the Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball at Yale. "We only gave up five hits, but seven of their five runs were batters that we walked."

Yale got on the board first once again in the nightcap of the doubleheader. Megee, who started on the mound for Yale, drew a two-out walk to help to help his own cause in the top of the third inning. Larsson-Danforth then came through with an opposite-field blast to run the score to 2-0. The blast was Larsson-Danforth's sixth roundtripper and 26th and 27th RBI of the season.

The Crimson responded immediately in its half of the third inning, as O'Neill led off the frame with a single. Douglas then singled to move O'Neill to third, and he then dashed home on a passed ball. A bases-loaded walk drawn by Taylor Albright plated another run to tie the score at 2-2.

Megee and Harvard starter Connor Hulse would post dueling zeroes on the scoreboard for the next three innings. Freshman right-hander Eric Shultz relieved Megee in the seventh and matched Hulse with scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings.

After Will Keuper tossed a scoreless ninth for the Crimson, the home team delivered with the winning run in its half of the frame. With one out, O'Neill hit a check-swing dribbler between Shultz and freshman catcher Ryan Brenner. Shultz fielded the ball cleanly, but a wild throw allowed O'Neill to advance to second base on the play. After an intentional walk to Meehan, Douglas singled through the right side of the infield to plate O'Neill and give Harvard a 3-2, walk-off victory.

Keuper's (2-3) scoreless ninth earned him his second win of the season. Hulse allowed five hits and two earned runs in the first eight innings. He struck out seven batters and walked two.

Megee pitched the first six innings, scattering five hits and allowing two earned runs. He struck out four batters and walked six. Shultz pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and just one unearned run to fall to 1-2.

`Situational hitting is what we work on the most in practice," said Stuper. "It has been our focus all season, but we haven't been able to get it done in big games."

The Bulldogs return to the diamond tomorrow, as they host intra-state foe Fairfield in a pair of seven-inning contests. Action from Yale Field begins at 3:30 p.m. Ivy League play resumes this weekend as first-place Dartmouth (11-1) comes to the Elm City for noon doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity