Sign up for a free Courant newsletter for a chance to win $100 P.C. Richard gift card

Yale Heading To NCAA Tournament After Sweeping Doubleheader Vs. Penn

@YaleBaseball sweeps Penn to claim first Ivy Championship, NCAA Tournament bid since 1993

For the modern ballplayer, 17 innings at first base and eight at-bats is more than a full day's work.

For Yale's Griffin Dey, it was the warmup. The long-elusive Ivy League Championship was slipping from the Bulldogs' grasp when coach John Stuper called on Dey to pitch the final inning.

"He's a beast," Stuper said. "He loves it. I could have put him in and he could have pitched three innings. He's a stud. When he comes in, we really have confidence."

Dey, who leads Yale in homers, made an error helping to bring the tying run to the plate. But Dey, a righthander with a sidearm delivery, got Chris Adams to swing and miss and touched off the biggest celebration seen at historic Yale Field in decades. Yale swept two games, beating Penn 5-0 and 11-7, to win its first conference title and the automatic NCAA Tournament bid that goes with it, since 1994.

"I try to approach every situation the same," said Dey, 6-0 with three saves and a 2.89 ERA in 28 innings. "Be strong mentally, and just try to go out there and compete, whether I'm hitting or pitching."

Yale (30-16) went 16-4 in the conference, clinching the Red Rolfe Division on April 29, and waiting 16 days from the end of the regular season as Penn beat Columbia in a play-in to win the Lou Gehrig Division. Then, because of expected rain, the championship series was pushed from Saturday to Tuesday.

But Yale showed no rust. Scott Politz (9-2, 3.62 ERA) pitched a brilliant complete game, his sixth of the season, to win the opener, retiring 16 in a row at one point. He allowed five hits, walked two, struck out five and induced 12 groundouts as his teammates pecked away for runs and played errorless ball behind him.

Politz won the first game of the championship series at Princeton last year, but Yale lost on a walk-off wild pitch.

"We did a lot of intersquad innings, throwing to hitters," Politz said. "The rest probably helped a little bit. The first week, I took off to rest my arm. ... We almost got it last year, but not quite. It gave us a little chip on our shoulder to finish it off."

In the second game, DH Benny Wanger hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run shot in the third, and Tim DeGraw hit a three-run homer as Yale built an 11-0 lead behind Eric Brodkowitz (5-2, 4.60).

But Penn chipped away with three in the fifth, two in the seventh and two in the eighth, and Stuper, on his 60th birthday, went to his closer.

"Griff's a special kid, as competitive as it gets," captain Richard Slenker said. "He's the guy you want on the mound. As a team, we could not be more confident than when he's on the mound."

Stuper, remembered for winning Game 6 of the 1982 World Series for the Cardinals, led Yale to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. His long wait for another trip is over. The Bulldogs will get their assignment on Memorial Day.

"It's probably the best feeling I've had coaching-wise," said Stuper. "These kids, they played great this year. I said at the beginning I thought we had the best team, and they proved me right."

Copyright © 2017, CT Now
27°