April 17, 2010

Dartmouth Hosts Elis in Rolfe Division Opener

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With a 3-5 Ivy League record entering the weekend, the Yale baseball team can take a huge step forward in the race for the league championship with a quartet of games against the defending Ancient Eight champion, Dartmouth. The Bulldogs (16-13-1 overall) and Big Green (13-12, 4-4 Ivy) will play a pair of doubleheaders beginning at noon from Hanover, N.H. on both Sunday and Monday to open Rolfe Division play. Live stats are available courtesy of the home team for all four contests.

Depending on the outcome of the Brown-Harvard series- the other half of the Ivy League's Red Rolfe Division- Yale could find itself tied for first place with a series sweep. Brown currently leads the division with a 6-2 mark, while the Crimson sit two games back at 4-4.

Last weekend, the Bulldogs rebounded from an 0-4 Ancient Eight start to sweep the 2009 Gehrig Division champion Cornell and split a twinbill with Princeton. Most recently, Yale split a doubleheader with intra-state rival Fairfield, dropping the first of the two seven-inning games by a 4-3 count before winning the nightcap by a score of 7-3.

Offensively, the Elis are batting .310, led by a .405 mark by junior second baseman and leadoff hitter Gant Elmore. Senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth continues his power-hitting tear, batting .385 with eight home runs, 11 doubles and 34 runs batted in. Additionally, sophomore outfielder Charlie Neil has led the way in Ivy League contests with a .381 batting average and five RBI in eight Ancient Eight games. Yale rounds out its offensive prowess with a 39-for-57 mark on stolen base attempts and a .963 fielding percentage.

On the mound, the Yale staff has been the Ivy League's best with a 5.45 ERA. Sophomore right-hander Pat Ludwig, the lone righty in the Bulldogs' weekend rotation, leads the team with 35 strikeouts, 38.1 innings pitched and a 3.52 ERA. Out of the bullpen, senior right-hander Robert Gruber is the reigning Ivy League Pitcher of the Week as well as the co-recipient of the CollegeBaseballInsider.com Northeast Region Pitcher of the Week. Gruber went 3-0, did not allow an earned run and stranded all four baserunners he inherited this past week.

The Dartmouth Big Green, the 2009 Ivy League Champion, is batting .301 as a team, led by a .367 average from Jeff Onstott.  Onstott is one of six Dartmouth regulars batting .313 or better and also leads the way with 26 RBI in 25 games. Big Green is just 13-for-25 on stolen base attempts and is averaging one error per game for a .971 fielding percentage.

On the mound, Yale can expect to see Big Green hurlers Robert Young (1-3, 4.91 ERA), Ben Murray (2-3, 9.85 ERA), Kyle Hendricks (1-4, 5.90 ERA) and Kyle Hunter (1-0, 3.30 ERA). It's likely that the Bulldogs will also see reliever Cole Sulser, who is 5-0 with a 3.66 earned run average in 32.0 innings of work. As a staff, Dartmouth owns a 5.83 ERA with a .319 batting average against them.

Big Green took three of four games at Yale Field last season- the first time Dartmouth won the four-game series since 2004. The all-time series began on May 21, 1881, with Big Green taking a 6-3 win in Springfield, Mass. The first contest in Hanover, N.H. came more than 50 years later, as the Elis dropped an 8-4 decision on May 19, 1930.

The Bulldogs will play a pair of nine-inning road games this coming week, playing at Northeastern on Tuesday and traveling to nearby Quinnipiac on Wednesday. Ivy League play resumes next weekend with a four-game series at Yale Field against historic rival Harvard.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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