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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Darling-Viola / Yale-St.John's 1981: Greatest game ever played

College baseball games are generally played in front of a smattering of fans, and by all accounts, that was the generally the case at Yale Field on a late May afternoon in 1981.

That’s where the details begin to fluctuate. New Haven Register columnist Dave Solomon once wrote that you’d think that over 50,000 fans were in attendance when the Bulldogs met St. John’s in what is called the greatest college baseball game ever played.

Ron Darling pitched Games 1, 4 and 7 of the 1986 World Series for the world champion New York Mets, one of the last pitchers to start three games in a single World Series. But around New Haven, the former Yalie is best known for his classic duel against Frank Viola and the Redmen in an NCAA regional.

Darling pitched 11 innings of no-hit ball that day, only to lose the game 1-0 in the 12th on a single, an error and a double steal.

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