With both a shutout victory and a confused loss, Yale tasted perfection and ruin in a single afternoon, proving how quickly a baseball game can turn around.
The baseball team found mixed results in the Ivy season opener at Princeton on Saturday. The first game was a beautiful 6-0 shutout and near perfect game, but the second was a lost 9-3 match that was evenly played until the eighth inning, when the Tigers rallied to save the second half of their home twin-bill.
Meanwhile, the doubleheader against Cornell originally slated for Sunday afternoon was rescheduled for Tuesday due to rainy weather.
“We faced two prospect pitchers on our first day — ones likely to be drafted in the future — and our pitchers came out and battled,” captain Stefan Schropp ’09 said. “Our hitters didn’t back down.”
Almost a perfect game
In the first game, pitcher Vinny Lally ’11 worked his way to an almost perfect shutout while third baseman Andy Megee ’11 dominated at the plate. Megee earned five RBI off four hits. Lally set down the first 19 batters to come his way and completed nine strikeouts before allowing just one hit in the seventh.
The Elis put their first runs on the board early in top of the first when Megee’s triple to right field scored Schropp, who had drawn a walk. In the bottom of the inning, Princeton went three-up, three-down — an early indication Yale’s dominance to come.
Yale added another run in the third inning off a second strong hit from Megee, whose double sent Schropp home.
In the fifth, Gant Elmore ’11 singled to center field and quickly took second on a wild pitch. Megee singled for the RBI.
Schropp said Megee’s consistent hitting over the weekend was invaluable to the team’s success.
“As a competitor, it is unbelievable to come off a professional prospect pitcher with a 94-95 fastball,” he said. “He carried the offense for us.”
Yale added three runs to the board in the seventh when Megee contributed two more RBI and Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 singled to left center for a third of the inning.
Through the sixth inning, Lally was looking at a perfect game. He nearly succeeded but was foiled in the final seventh inning when Princeton’s Dan DeGeorge doubled to center field. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch, but the Elis saved the shutout as shortstop Matt Schmidt ’12 threw out Princeton’s Jack Murphy at first for the final out of the game.
“A perfect game is one of those things in baseball that rarely happens,” Lally explained. “I first thought about just keeping the team in the game, but the last inning I wanted to get it.”
Tigers rally for second win
Princeton came back for the second game looking for revenge and re-entered Clarke Field seeking redemption.
Joe Castaldi ’10 opened on the mound for the Elis and held the Tigers scoreless through the sixth.
The Elis first scored in the second inning when Charlie Neil ’12 singled to center. Chris Sweeney ’10 sacrifice bunted, sending Neil to second base. Neil then stole third and scored on two wild pitches.
In the next inning, Schmidt doubled to right and advanced to third on an error. Schropp earned the RBI with a hit to the shortstop, which was turned into a double play. Yale scored again in the sixth with a homer by Sweeney over the right field fence. At this point, the Bulldogs led 3-0.
Then the Elis’ situation deteriorated. In the bottom of the sixth, Princeton quickly got two men on base and forced a Yale pitching change. Robert Gruber ’10 stepped onto the mound with runners on second and third, and let in the first Tiger runs of the day. Princeton scored two runs before the Elis got out of the inning.
Yale held on to their one-run lead until the eighth when the Tigers rallied to a seven-run inning. After the first run of the inning, Eric Shultz ’12 replaced Gruber on the mound. After eight hits in the inning and two errors, the Elis were finally able to shut down the vindictive Princeton machine. Yale, unable to mount a comeback in the ninth, lost 9-3.
“Princeton’s bats woke up late in the second game,” Lally said.
But Megee added, “They’re supposed to be one of the best in the Ivy League, but I wasn’t impressed. I thought we played better than them. Joe [Castaldi] deserved the second game.”
Sunday’s doubleheader against Cornell has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y. Tuesday’s originally scheduled contest against Maine has been cancelled.