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Gruener's Gem Lifts Harvard Over Yale, 6-2; Crimson Falls 8-2 in Game 2 of Twinbill

Gruener gave up one hit to Yale after the first inning to pick up the win for Harvard. (Photo: Harvard Baseball)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Riding the arm of freshman Nick Gruener in Game 1 versus Yale, the Harvard baseball team stole the opener, 6-2, but fell to the Bulldogs in Game 2, 8-2. Harvard (10-22, 5-9 Ivy) remains a pair of games behind Yale (15-19, 7-7 Ivy) with two games remaining in the series. 

Gruener, who saw just 19 batters after the first frame, went the distance in the first game on Saturday at Yale Field, tossing 7.0 full innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, while striking out four and yielding just one walk. The freshman settled into a groove after the Bulldogs sent a pair of runs across in the opening stanza to take an early 2-0 lead. From the second through the seventh innings, Gruener afforded the Bulldogs just one base hit

In the top of the third, the Crimson struck with three consecutive two-out hits, capped off by a Kyle Larrow single through the right side to score both Jake McGuiggan and Carlton Bailey to knot things up in a flash.

Steven Dill extended Harvard's lead to 4-2 in the next inning, sending a booming double down the left field line, scoring Ethan Ferreira and Brandon Kregel, who got on the bags via an error and single, respectively. In the very next inning, the Crimson made it a decisive 6-2. Larrow singled and scored after stealing second and being sent home by Kregel. Kregel also stole second base, just before being driven in by Ferreira in the very next at bat.

With the win, the Crimson snuck closer to the first place spot in the Red Rolfe Division, but Yale rebounded in Game 2 of the afternoon. The Bulldogs faced Matt Timoney for 5.2 innings, only grabbing six hits and a pair of runs off the junior righty, but touched up the Crimson bullpen for six runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined to escape. 

After Harvard continued its hot streak in the first inning as Kregel doubled home Mike Martin to put the Crimson up 1-0, the Bulldogs got one back in the third with a Hsieh single up the middle plating Campbell to make it 1-1.

While the Crimson was largely held in check, aside from threatening in the fourth and sixth with runners in scoring position, Yale took a 2-1 lead in the fifth, but extended it to 6-1 in the seventh. T.J. Laurisch came on in relief of Greg Coman, giving up a pair of runs on a pair of hits, but Sean O'Neill turned around and struck out the last two Bulldogs to end any further damage.

After Kregel led off the eighth with a double he saw on the second pitch, he eventyally came around to score on a passed ball to cut Yale's lead to 6-2. But the Bulldogs took back the reigns, driving in two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a final 8-2 lead.

With the split, Harvard and Yale will duke it out on Sunday in a twinbill to decide the series, beginning at 1 p.m.