The Bulldogs came into the weekend tied with Harvard for second in the Red Rolfe division of the Ivy League, and the standings remained unchanged after the two rivals split their four-game series in Cambridge.
Yale (8–21, 5–7 Ivy) dropped the first game of both of the weekend’s doubleheaders, but came back to beat the Crimson (8–24, 5–7) in the second game on Saturday and Sunday.
Despite a six-inning, two-run performance from left-handed pitcher Rob Cerfolio ’14, the Elis lost the first game on Saturday 2–1 thanks to a seven-inning, seven- strikeout gem by Harvard righty Sam Dodge. It looked as if the Cantabs would sweep the twin bill with Harvard up 3–1 heading into the ninth, but captain Chris Piwinski ’13 scored on a double-play ball from centerfielder Cam Squires ’13 to bring second baseman David Toups ’15 to the plate with the Elis trailing by one. Toups laced a game-tying RBI single to left field as Yale exploded for six runs in the top of the ninth to take the game 7–3.
“I was looking for a fastball because I was up in the count,” Toups said. “My approach was to stay inside the ball, get on top of the ball, and drive it up the middle.”
Michael Coleman ’14 pitched eight innings to keep Yale in the game and earn his second victory of the year.
Yale took a 1–0 lead to start the Sunday doubleheader when designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 scored first baseman Jacob Hunter ’15 with a single to second in the top of the first. Sophomore first baseman Nick Saathoff retook the lead for the Crimson with a three-run homer to right field off of right-hander Chris Moates ’16 in the bottom of the fourth. Yale closed the gap to 3–2 on a sacrifice fly by Hunter, but three more runs from Harvard in the fifth finished the scoring and the Crimson won 6–2.
In the second game on Sunday, Toups got the Elis on the scoreboard quickly, drilling a lead-off home run to right field on the first pitch of the game.
“We said we needed to turn the page and jump out on them early,” Scharff said. “[Toups] had a great swing on the first pitch and drove it out of the ballpark. We never looked back from there.”
Leftfielder Nate Adams ’16 brought in another run in the first with a sac fly, but the Crimson would knot the game at 2–2 with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Adams retook the lead for Yale with an RBI fielder’s choice in the sixth and a second run scored on the play when second baseman Tanner Anderson threw the ball away. Yale handed a 5–2 lead to right-hander Cale Hanson ’14 in the ninth — and Hanson shut the door by striking out the side.
“Our hitters did a great job of putting pressure on the defense late in the game and got us some big runs,” he said.“They made my job easy. I just threw strikes and focused on keeping the ball down in the zone. I was able to throw some of my off-speed pitches when I was ahead in the count and luckily my stuff was moving enough to be effective.”
Both Hanson and Toups also said that they were impressed with Piwinski’s performance. The team captain went five-of-13 for a .385 batting average on the weekend. He played three games behind the plate and started the fourth at shortstop.
“[Piwinski] is our anchor,” Toups said. “He works so hard behind the plate and brings the energy that everyone feeds off out there. He is great at working with the pitchers.”
Yale will head back on the road to face Sacred Heart (25–32, 19–13 Northeast Conference) in Fairfield, Conn. on Wednesday.