A week after losing four games on the road, the Bulldogs (15–12–1, 3–5 Ivy) went 3–1 at home, sweeping their doubleheader with Cornell (6–14, 2–6) on Saturday before splitting their series with Princeton (8–19, 3–5) on Sunday.
“We had a nightmare weekend last weekend,” head coach John Stuper said. “For these kids to come back against two teams who are just as good as the teams we played on the road, I’m pretty proud of them.”
First baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 went 7-for-16 over the weekend with four RBIs, including a walk-off home run in Yale’s first game against the Big Red.
“I felt good at the plate,” Larsson-Danforth said. “I’ve been a little off the last couple of weeks but I think I got it back on track this weekend.”
The Elis had the task of facing Cornell’s ace, right-hander Corey Pappel, who was boasting a 2.35 ERA coming into the contest, in Saturday’s first game.
Although they only had one hit through three innings and trailed 2–0, the Bulldogs scored three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead.
Two runs came from a bases-loaded single off the bat of leftfielder Andrew Moore ’11, and designated hitter Charlie Neil ’12 walked in on a balk after having advanced to third base on Moore’s hit.
The Big Red tied it up 3–3 after scoring on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning, and looked ready to take the lead in the sixth. With no outs and runners on first and third, Cornell bunted to Yale pitcher Pat Ludwig ’12. Ludwig threw the ball to Larsson-Danforth for the first out, and Larsson-Danforth threw the runner out at home in a close play that resulted in the Cornell head coach being rejected for arguing.
The game remained tied until the seven-inning game went into extra innings.
With Pappel no longer pitching in the eighth inning, Larsson-Danforth hit the third pitch of the at-bat over the left field wall for the game winner.
In Saturday’s nightcap, the Bulldogs once against overcame an early 2–0 deficit to emerge with a 7–5 victory.
The Elis tied the game 2–2 in the fifth inning and then added two more in the sixth after a two-run double from second baseman Gant Elmore ’11. Then, in the seventh, Yale put up three more tallies, two of them coming off two separate wild pitches.
Yale took its 7–3 lead into the ninth, when the Big Red got two runs off of Greg Lyons ’12, but Cornell was unable to tie things up in the end.
Sunday was all about pitcher Brook Hart ’11, who earned a loss in the first game and a save in the second.
Hart started the first game against Princeton, but was quickly pulled after allowing seven runs in one-plus innings.
The Tigers got four runs off of four hits in the first inning, then scored three runs — all with no outs — in the second inning, prompting Stuper to pull Hart.
The Bulldogs spent the rest of game trying to erase a 7–0 deficit — and they almost succeeded.
Down 8–3 in the seventh and final inning, Yale had five hits to make it a one-run game with one out and runners at second and third. Their comeback fell short, though, after Moore struck out looking and third baseman Trey Rallis ’11 grounded out to second base.
The Bulldogs were able to pull off a comeback, though, in the second game of the day. The Yale bullpen shut out Princeton in the final four innings, allowing the Elis to overcome a 5–4 deficit in the sixth inning and hold on for the 6–5 win.
Moore and Rallis started the second inning with back-to-back doubles as the Elis took an early 3–0 lead.
The Tigers got two back against Yale pitcher Christopher O’Hare ’13 in the fourth inning, before two more in the fifth for a 5–4 lead.
With one out in the sixth, the Bulldogs staged a comeback — all without getting a hit. Standing on second after two consecutive walks, Matt Schmidt ’12 tied the game after a throw by the Princeton second baseman sailed past the first baseman. Then, with runners on the corners, Larsson-Danforth stole second. The Princeton second baseman caught the throw from the catcher and immediately threw it back home to try to get Elmore, who was running home. The throw was wide, though, giving Yale the 6–5 lead.
After a lead-off double by the Tigers in the eighth, Hart was brought in to relieve Robert Gruber ’10, just hours after the worst outing of Hart’s college career.
“I’ve never brought a starter in the second game, but he said that he felt like he hadn’t even pitched in the first game,” Stuper said. “He was throwing probably three or four miles per hour harder in relief. [Catcher Ryan Brenner ’12] was asking the equipment manager to make sure that his mitt was tied up because he was afraid Brook was going to break it.”
A far cry from his earlier showing, Hart struck out two and did not allow a hit in his two-inning save.
Hart said he knew that his earlier outing would not affect how he pitched in relief.
“After playing years of baseball you just kind of get used to the ups and downs,” he said. “The way I always look at it is you’ll hit the hardest ball of your life right at somebody and then the next at-bat you bloop one for a single, so it all kind of evens out.”
Yale will finish its eight-game homestand this Wednesday with a doubleheader against Fairfield.