Yale Set To Visit Harvard For Key Rolfe Division Series

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Vinny Lally. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Looking To Extend Lead Over Dartmouth, Brown In Rolfe Division Race


 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — This is a crucial weekend for the Yale University baseball team in its quest for a spot in the Ivy League Championship Series.

The Bulldogs will visit Harvard for a pair of doubleheaders, beginning with a twin bill on Friday that starts at 1 p.m. The second doubleheader is currently scheduled for Sunday beginning at 12 p.m., but the stormy weather that is in the forecast for the area could force another change to the schedule. Keep checking YaleBulldogs.com for updates.

The outcome of this weekend's four-game series could go a long way in deciding the race for the Red Rolfe Division champion. Yale (20-13 overall, 8-4 Ivy League) currently sits in first place, with a two-game lead over both Dartmouth, the two-time defending Ivy League champion, and Brown, both 6-6 in Ivy play. Brown will visit Dartmouth for a four-game series this weekend.

Harvard (7-29, 3-9 Ivy) enters the weekend series riding a bit of momentum after taking the final two games of last weekend's four-game slate at Brown and following that with a 1-0 win over UMass in the first round of the Beanpot Tournament.

Though the Crimson started the season 1-14 and struggled through two separate nine-game losing streaks, the team has played better of late, winning three of its last five and advancing to the Beanpot title game against Boston College.

Yale and Harvard split last year's four-game series at Yale Field, with Yale winning the second game of both doubleheaders. Yale hit a whopping .412 against Harvard in 2010, but a majority of that came in Yale's 15-1 win in the second game of the first doubleheader in which the Bulldogs pounded out 16 hits with five doubles. Matt Schmidt went 4-for-5 in that game with two doubles and three RBIs and finished 8-for-15 in the series with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

Although the clutch hits were hard to come by in the Bulldogs' last game, a 10-2 loss at Army, they are still riding high off of last weekend's four-game sweep of Dartmouth, the first four-game sweep of the Big Green since 1998.

Yale's four pitchers were dominating in the weekend series, allowing just three runs in the four games, holding Dartmouth to a total of 24 hits while striking out a total of 31 Big Green batters.

Yale's weekend rotation of seniors Vinny Lally (4-0, 2.26 ERA, Ivy League-best 56 strikeouts) and Brook Hart (4-3, 2.25 ERA, 34 Ks), junior Pat Ludwig (3-2, 3.38 ERA, 39 Ks) and sophomore Christopher O'Hare (4-0, 2.59 ERA, 20 Ks) will likely be counted on for a similar performance this weekend in Cambridge, Mass. Lally and Hart set the tone last weekend with a pair of one-run outings in the first doubleheader, but O'Hare and Ludwig shined even brighter, with O'Hare tossing a four-hit shutout and Ludwig striking out a career-best 12 batters, a performance that earned him the Ivy League's Pitcher of the Week honor. Last weekend's rotation of Lally and Hart followed by O'Hare and Ludwig will likely go in the same order this weekend.

Harvard will counter with seniors Eric Eadington (LHP, 0-5, 5.49 ERA, 41 Ks) and Max Perlman (RHP, 1-4, 2.03 ERA, 41 Ks), and juniors Brent Suter (LHP, 2-3, 7.39 ERA, 31 Ks) and Conner Hulse (RHP, 0-3, 7.85 ERA, 7 Ks). The Crimson will likely pitch the lefties in the seven-inning opening games of each doubleheader, while the righties will start the nightcap of each twin bill.

Jack Colton is Harvard's best hitter to date, leading the way with a .395 average (17-for-43) in 19 games, but Marcus Way has been the most impressive. While he is hitting only .243 (28-for-115) in 36 games, he has belted a team-best six home runs with eight doubles and 20 RBIs. Jeff Reynolds is the Crimson's only regular starter (36 starts) who his hitting higher than .300. He has 40 hits in 132 at-bats (.303) with six doubles, a triple and two home runs with 14 RBIs.

The Bulldogs will counter with a lineup that will feature six hitters that are hitting better than .300, led by outfielder Cam Squires, who is hitting .353 (24-for-68). Senior captain Andy Megee is hitting an impressive .344 (45-for-131) while manning third base. He has nine doubles, two home runs and 24 RBIs. He is also leading the Bulldogs with 12 stolen bases.

It should be an exciting series, as most contests between the two Ivy League rivals are. However, the Bulldogs will visit Cambridge with an opportunity to extend its lead in the Rolfe Division. Where they stand at the end of the weekend will depend largely upon the pitching staff. And as the Bulldogs' hurlers proved last weekend, they probably prefer it that way. 

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity