Bulldogs Host Fairfield in Wednesday Doubleheader

Andrew Moore. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity) Buy Now
Andrew Moore. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale baseball team used last week's non-conference doubleheader- a split with Sacred Heart- to get back on track after starting the Ivy League season with four straight losses.  The goal has changed this Wednesday, however, as the Bulldogs will look to use a non-conference twinbill against Fairfield to keep their momentum rolling after taking three of four games from Gehrig Division Cornell and Princeton this past weekend. Yale (15-12-1, 3-5 Ivy) will send right-handers Greg Lyons (1-2, 5.79  ERA) and Chris Finneran (0-0, 5.40 ERA) to the mound in the squad's final tune-ups prior to the commencement of Red Rolfe Division play on Saturday at defending Ivy League champion Dartmouth. The Stags (12-14, 3-3 MAAC) come to Yale Field as winners of four of their last five games.

Wednesday's twinbill will close out a string of eight consecutive home games for the Bulldogs, who have gone 4-2 on the homestand thus far. Junior second baseman Gant Elmore is batting .478 over the stretch, raising his season batting average to a team-best .405. Elmore and senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth have each racked up five runs batted in over the last six games, with Larsson-Danforth notching of his RBI on a walk-off home run against Cornell on Saturday.

Senior right-hander Robert Gruber has tallied three relief wins in his last three appearances, posting 5.2 scoreless frames to lower his season ERA to 1.38. Junior southpaw Vinny Lally (5-1, 4.75 ERA) has also tallied a win on the homestand, while junior left-hander Brook Hart (1) and sophomore right-hander Greg Lyons (2) each notched a save this past week.

On the season, the Bulldogs are batting .311 as a team. Yale, which has four qualifying players (min. 62 at-bats) hitting over .300, is slugging a scorching .497, with nearly 38% of its hits going for extra bases. The Elis are also 37-for-54 on the basepaths and boast a .961 fielding percentage.  Larsson-Danforth leads the way with seven home runs and 32 RBI, and junior third baseman Andy Megee has stolen 10 bases on 13 attempts.

The Yale pitching staff owns a collective ERA of 5.51 in 220.2 innings of work. Batters are hitting .308 against Elis' hurlers, who have recorded 173 strikeouts and issued 93 walks (1.86 K/BB ratio). Lally leads the staff with five wins, while Lyons' two saves are a team best.

The Fairfield Stags are hitting .277 as a club, led by a .380 average for Anthony Hajjar.  Hajjar is the only regular player hitting over .300, though Tucker Nathans is just a shade below that with a .298 batting average in addition to his 21 RBI. Marco Garamella has driven in a team-best 25 runs for the Stags, who are 27-for-39 on stolen base attempts with a .956 fielding percentage.

Fairfield's hurlers boast a 7.14 ERA and 1.33 K/BB ratio (146/110) in 223.0 innings on the mound. Rob Gariano (2-3, 3.65) pitched a complete game on Saturday, while Sam Robertson (2-2, 5.29 ERA) went eight innings on Sunday. Dan Urbanovich, who pitched the ninth for Robertson in a non-save situation, is the only other Stags hurler to have thrown in a live game since April 5.

Yale has won four of the last five meetings with the Stags after last season's split in New Haven. The Bulldogs' game-one win was the record-breaking 333rd victory in the Yale career of Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball John Stuper. Yale leads the all-time series dates, which back to a 6-3 Elis' win on April 30, 1973, but a 24-14 margin.

The Bulldogs return to the diamond on Saturday for the first of back-to-back doubleheaders at Rolfe Division opponent Dartmouth. Action returns to Yale Field the following weekend as the Bulldogs host a quartet of games with another Rolfe Division foe, historic rival Harvard.

report filed by Drew M.  Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity