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Elis Earn Doubleheader Split with Fairfield

Josh Scharff. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Josh Scharff. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Six different players had two hits, and right-handers Greg Lyons and Chris Finneran each turned in solid starts on the mound as the Yale baseball team earned a doubleheader split with visiting Fairfield on Wednesday. The Stags rallied to take the first of two seven-inning games by a 4-3 tally, while Yale posted four runs in the top of the first en route to a 7-3 victory in the nightcap. Senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth hit his team-leading eighth home run of the season, joining junior right fielder Andrew Kolmar and sophomore catcher Ryan Brenner with two runs batted in.

Yale now stands at 16-13-1 in the 2010 season, while Fairfield moves to 13-15.

Larsson-Danforth went 2-for-5 with two RBI, three runs scored and two walks. He also stole his seventh base of the season. Junior second baseman Gant Elmore and freshman designated hitter Josh Scharff each doubled for the Elis, with Scharff picking up his first career RBI. Juniors Andrew Moore and Andy Megee each drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

On the hill, Lyons scattered three hits and one earned run over the first four innings of game one. The sophomore, who did not factor into the decision, struck out five batters and walked two. Finneran had a equally impressive performance in game two, surrendering three hits and one earned run in four innings to earn his first win of the season. The senior righty struck out four batters and walked one.

The Bulldogs started the scoring in game one, getting on the board in the first inning. Elmore was hit by the first pitch of the game, and moved to second on a Larsson-Danforth walk. After a wild pitch by Fairfield starter Kevin Fico moved each runner 90 feet closer to scoring, Brenner brought them both home with an RBI double that gave the Elis a quick 2-0 lead.

After the Stags took a run back in the top of the third inning, Yale took that run back without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the fifth. Larsson-Danforth walked to start the frame, and Brenner was then hit by a pitch. After Fairfield brought Rick Piccirillo out of the bullpen, sophomore Charlie Neil dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners. A Moore sacrifice fly then scored Larsson-Danforth to run the score to 3-1.

The Stags would not go quietly, however, as Jason Rago slapped an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the seventh and final inning. Three batters later, Marco Garamella delivered what would prove to be the game-winning double, plating two runs to put Fairfield on top, 4-3. Mark Bordonaro then pitched a perfect bottom of the seventh to close out the Bulldogs.

Senior right-hander Robert Gruber allowed three runs on five hits to fall to 3-1 on the season. Piccirillo (2-0) tossed two scoreless and hitless innings to earn the victory for the Stags. Bordonaro's save was his second of the year.

After seeing an early lead disappear in game one, the Bulldogs posted an even  larger lead in the first inning of the nightcap. After Elmore was hit by a pitch with one out to get on base,  Larsson-Danforth swatted his second homer of the season two batters later to put the Bulldogs on top, 2-0. The two-out rally continued Neil singled up the middle, and Scharff doubled to right centerfield to bring him around to score. Kolmar followed with a two-bagger of his own to run the score to 4-0 after just one frame.

Fairfield got on the board with a run in the third inning, but Yale extended its lead even further in the bottom of the inning. Megee led off with a double down the left field line, moved to third on a groundout by Larsson-Danforth and scored on a wild pitch by Stags' starter Scott Gussaroff. Neil then hit an infield single and soon found himself on third base after a Scharff groundout and another Gussaroff wild pitch. The Elis' second infield hit of the inning, this one off the bat of Kolmar, scored Neil and gave the home a more comfortable 6-1 cushion.

Yale's seventh run came one inning later, as freshman centerfielder Cam Squires singled and raced all the way to third base on an Elmore base-hit. Megee then flied out to right field, as Squires tagged up and dashed home. Fairfield would tack on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but Megee moved from the hot corner to the mound and closed out the Stags to preserve Yale's 7-3 victory.

Finneran (1-0) got the win for the Bulldogs while Gusssaroff allowed six earned runs and eight hits over the first three innings to fall to 0-2. Megee and freshman right-hander Avery Lanman both turned in effective relief outings for Yale.

The Bulldogs will resume Ivy League play this weekend with four games at Red Rolfe Division opponent Dartmouth. Action returns to Yale Field on April 24 and 25 for a four-game series with historic rival Harvard.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity