Eight-Game Homestand Starts Tuesday Against Sacred Heart

Chris Finneran (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Chris Finneran (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After playing just two of its first 22 games at home, the Yale baseball team begins a stretch of eight straight games within the familiar confines of historic Yale Field on Tuesday afternoon with a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader against intra-state rival Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs (11-10-1, 0-4 Ivy) are coming off a tough Ivy League weekend at Columbia and Penn, with the other half of the Gehrig Division- Cornell and Princeton- coming to New Haven this weekend. The Pioneers (9-13, 2-2 NEC) dropped the last two games of a four-game home series with Northeast Conference rival Quinnipiac this past weekend. Both games will feature live stats and will be broadcast by WYBC, Yale’s student radio station, with Paul Treadgold ’10 and Jonathan Zelig ’11L on the call.

Junior second baseman Gant Elmore, batting primarily out of the leadoff spot, is batting a team-best .386 with 34 hits and a .456 on-base percentage. Senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth leads the way in both on-base percentage (.469) and slugging percentage (.691), while driving in a team-high 27 runs. Junior third baseman Andy Megee had six RBI this past weekend to bring his total to 24. He also smacked his sixth home run, which ties him with Larsson-Danforth for the team lead. Megee has swiped a team-best nine bases while batting .368. As a team, Yale is hitting .308 with 27 home runs in 22 games. The Bulldogs are 26-40 on stolen base attempts with a .963 fielding percentage (29 errors).

On the mound, Yale is expected to start senior right-handers Joe Castaldi and Chris Finneran. Both Castaldi, the team captain, and Finneran are veterans of the Ivy League weekend rotation in prior seasons. The Bulldogs’ staff as a whole has a 5.65 earned run average in 173.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .314 against Yale hurlers.

The Pioneers from Sacred Heart boast a team batting average of an even .300 through their first 22 games. John Murphy leads the team with a .377 average with Robert Griffith, who has missed 10 games, batting .378 in limited action. Jeff Heppner owns the team highs with five home runs, 23 runs scored and 21 batted in. Sacred Heart is 34-38 on stolen base attempts, and average 2.0 errors per game for a .945 fielding percentage.

On the hill, The Pioneers own a 6.27 team ERA and a .303 batting average against. Yale could face right-handers John Hermanson and James Ineson as Sacred Heart’s starters in the doubleheader, with 6’9” southpaw Matt Fitton expected to throw either out of the bullpen for an extended period or as one of the Pioneers starters. Sacred Heart has four saves as a team, as right-handers Troy Scribner and Mike Korevec have each locked down two Pioneers’ victories.

The Bulldogs are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with Sacred Heart, dating back to the 2005 season. Yale earned a 5-3 win in game one of last season’s doubleheader split with the Pioneers, who took game two by an 8-6 margin in extra innings. Yale leads the all-time series, which dates back to a twinbill split at Yale Field on March 25, 1990, by a 22-4 mark.

The Elis return to the diamond this weekend, as Cornell and Princeton visit Yale Field for a pair of noon doubles on Saturday and Sunday. Both Big Red and the Tigers split home twinbills against Harvard and Dartmouth to open their Ivy League slates. The Bulldogs will also host Fairfield on Wednesday, April 14 to wrap-up the eight-game homestand.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity