Opening Day at Historic Yale Field is Saturday at 2 p.m.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Historic Yale Field will raise its gates on its 86th season as the home field for the Yale University baseball team on Saturday afternoon, as the Bulldogs will play host to Holy Cross for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend that will open the 2013 home schedule.
The first pitch of the first game in the four-game series is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. The two teams will play a pair of doubleheaders this weekend. Sunday's doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m. at Yale Field.
Senior captain Chris Piwinski will lead a Yale squad that includes 16 returning players from the group that finished 13-31-1 last season, with a fourth-place finish (5-15) in the Ivy League's Rolfe Division. The Bulldogs' roster includes seven new players, including five freshmen and two players that joined the team after spending time on Yale's football team in junior Jake Semones and sophomore Charles Cook.
John Stuper is in the midst of his 21st season as the head baseball coach at Yale. The all-time winningest head coach in the 148-year history of Yale baseball, Stuper enters this weekend with 396 career victories in the Bulldogs' dugout.
Both teams enter the weekend after struggling through the first few weeks of the season. Yale is a combined 1-9 after eight games in Florida and a pair of games at 11th-ranked Virginia. Holy Cross is 2-13 after four games against three opponents at Virginia Tech, three games at the University of Nevada and six more games in California. This weekend's series will give both teams their first taste of games in the chilly spring weather of the Northeast.
Yale's Live Stats game-tracker for all four games can be found on YaleBulldogs.com.
Yale enters the weekend with a 1-9 overall record following the eight-game spring break trip to Florida and a pair of losses at No. 11 Virginia. The Bulldogs currently hold a team batting average of .237 with sophomore Eric Hsieh leading the team with a .370 average. Hsieh leads the team with 10 hits, all singles, and a .393 on-base percentage.
Sophomore second baseman David Toups is leading the Bulldogs with five RBIs and five runs scored. He also leads the team in total bases (12).
Toups and Green Campbell are both carrying a three-game hitting streak into the series with Holy Cross.
Freshman right-hander Chris Moates is leading the team with a 0.00 ERA in five relief appearances, with one save in 8.2 total innings, while junior starting pitcher Rob Cerfolio (0-2) currently owns a 2.19 ERA in two starts.
About Holy Cross
The Crusaders have not played since a pair of losses at St. John's on March 16 (8-3) and March 17 (12-8).
With the two losses, Holy Cross fell to 2-13. The Crusaders own victories over Temple (8-6, Feb. 24) and St. Louis (11-5, March 10), but they have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
The Crusaders own a .273 team batting average. Andrew Barry leads the team with a .382 average. Evan Ocello is leading Holy Cross in slugging (.569) and on-base percentage (.484). Ocello also holds team-highs in RBIs (15), runs scored (13), doubles (5), stolen bases (5) and total bases (29).
The Holy Cross pitching staff has struggled through the first 15 games of the season. No pitcher on the staff owns an ERA lower than 6.66 other than relievers Jeremy Perron (4.70) and Josh Hauser (0.00). Hauser has allowed three unearned runs in three relief appearances. The entire pitching staff has allowed opposing batters to record a .342 batting average while allowing 32 doubles, seven triples, and 11 home runs in 15 games.
All-Time Series/Last Meeting
The two teams have met 114 times 1895. Overall, Yale owns a 48-64-2 record against the Crusaders. After taking a two-year hiatus after the 2006 season, the two teams have met five times since the 2009 season. Yale is 2-3 in those five games, including a 5-4 win in 12 innings last season.
In the come-from-behind win last year, Yale trailed 3-0 after three innings before racing ahead with a four-run fifth inning. The Crusaders tied the game in the top of the sixth inning, and the game remained tied at 4-4 until Jacob Hunter belted a game-winning RBI double with one out in the 12th inning.
Hunter's extra-inning heroics were made possible only by a strong showing by the Yale bullpen. After falling behind 3-0 after three innings, four Yale relievers combined to hold Holy Cross to just one run, two hits and eight base runners the rest of the way over the final nine innings.
Hunter had a triple and two doubles with two RBIs to power the Bulldogs' offense. Cale Hanson earned the win after two hitless innings of relief. He also had three hits. Kevin Fortunato and senior captain Ryan Brenner each added two hits.
Brandon Cipolla homered for Holy Cross.
Last Time Out
Yale was shut out for the first time this season thanks to a 10-0 loss at No. 11 Virginia in the final game of a two-game set in Charlottesville, Va.
Eric Hsieh went 3-for-4 in the loss, while freshman Brent Lawson went 2-for-4 with a double. The Bulldogs collected seven hits, but of their nine base runners in the game, only two reached third, and the Bulldogs could not get the key hit to drive them home.
Five Virginia pitchers combined on the shutout, with starter Josh Sborz (2-0) earning the win after allowing four hits with four strikeouts in three innings of work. Yale starter Michael Coleman (0-2) allowed just three hits and two runs in his two innings of work. Chris Moates and Cale Hanson both pitched well in relief. Moates allowed two hits and one unearned run in two innings, while Hanson tossed 1⅓ inning of scoreless relief.
Yale will travel to Queens, N.Y., to take on Michigan at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. The Wolverines are currently 9-10 after a 5-3 loss to Western Illinois on Friday. Michigan will play a doubleheader against Western Illinois prior to facing the Bulldogs on Tuesday.
This will be the ninth all-time meeting between Yale and Michigan, but it is the first meeting bwteen the two schools since 1989. The Bulldogs are 3-5 against the Wolverines, including wins in 1891, 1901, and 1905. Michigan has won the last four meetings, including two in 1983 and two in 1989.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity