Arriving in cold and rainy Cambridge, Mass., on Saturday morning, the Yale baseball team was forced to admit that it was not baseball weather. The next morning, however, was clear and bright for the first half of the four-game series against Harvard.
Although Saturday’s games were postponed to Tuesday, Sunday afternoon ended in a coincidentally mirrored split ticket as the Elis took the first game 4-2 and Harvard came back in the second to win 4-2.
“Weather played a huge factor,” Matt Schmidt ’12 explained. “It was difficult to pull the ball anywhere. It was really a pitcher’s duel.”
Brandon Josselyn ’09 pitched all seven innings of the first game. The starter only allowed six hits, and had zero walks. He also made six strikeouts out of 30 batters.
The first game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when outfielder and captain Stefan Schropp ’09 started an Eli rally with a single to left center. Third baseman Andy Megee ’11 doubled to right for the RBI, and first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 grounded out for a second RBI. Charlie Neil ’12 and Chris Sweeney ’10 singled, and Zach Tobolowsky ’12 singled for the third and final RBI of the inning.
Harvard answered in the bottom of the fifth with two runs, but outs by Megee, Josselyn, and outfielder Andrew Kolmar ’11 kept the Crimson from taking the lead.
In the sixth, Neil and Tobolowsky each singled, and Harvard pitcher Jonah Klees was replaced with Daniel Berardo despite striking out Ryan Brenner ’12. Berardo then walked Schropp, which sent in Neil for the final run of the game.
Despite Harvard’s better record compared to the Quakers’, players said the Crimson’s record did not reflect their actual strength.
“They were pretty good, but not as good as Penn,” Josselyn said. “I felt they didn’t handle the fastball.”
Yale played Penn on April 5, and won both games of the double header 7-6 and 7-4. Penn is currently 1-11 for the Ivy Season in comparison to Harvard’s 6-4 standing.
The second game proved just how easily a game can go either way in Ivy baseball.
“They were a better team than what we anticipated,” Schropp said. “That was a very solid team with young pitching — very good for freshman pitchers.”
Harvard first put two on the board in the bottom of the fourth. The first came from two Crimson hits, and the second was an unearned run off a throwing error by Yale.
In the sixth, Danforth singled through the left side and Neil followed with a single to left field. Sweeney reach on a fielder’s choice and earned the RBI.
The score then stood 2-1 until the seventh inning when, with the bases loaded, Harvard pitcher Will Keuper replaced Brent Suter. Danforth then grounded out for an RBI, but Harvard was able to stop additional damages with a third-out strikeout by the new pitcher.
The Crimson answered the single run with one of their own in the bottom of the seventh and another — their final of the day — in the eighth. In that inning, Robert Gruber ’10 came in from the bullpen to relieve Joe Castaldi ’10. Gruber had one strikeout in five batters faced, but was relieved by Eric Shultz ’12 after a failed pick-off attempt in which two batters got on base.
Castaldi’s start, while falling short of the win, had an admirable six-hit limit, four strikeouts and no walks. In addition, he allowed only two earned runs.
“My heart breaking for Joe — he’s pitching tremendously and keeping us in every game,” Schropp said. “He’s just coming up on the wrong side of a lot of close games.”
Yale did not score any runs in the ninth, and the game ended 4-2 in Harvard’s favor.
“Ideally you don’t want to split — especially when you’re at .500,” Josselyn said. “We’re at a point where we need to take at least three out of four — we need a win.”
The remaining doubleheader against Harvard is scheduled for Tuesday in Cambridge. Play begins at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday’s twin bill against Fairfield will remain as scheduled, with play beginning at 3:30 p.m. at Yale Field.