Columbia and Penn visit Yale for Ivy League Showdown
First-place Bulldogs host Lions Saturday, Quakers Sunday for Pair of Doubleheaders
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University baseball team currently sits in a tie for first place in the Rolfe Division of the Ivy League with Dartmouth, but before the Bulldogs begin play against the three Rolfe Division rivals, they must face Columbia and Penn in the final cross-division weekend of the season.
Yale will host Columbia on Saturday and Penn on Sunday in a pair of doubleheaders that are both scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. The Bulldogs, 5-15 overall and 2-2 in Ivy League play, can make a big statement this weekend with a strong showing against the Lions (9-15, 2-2) and Quakers (16-9, 3-1).
Yale enters the weekend riding a three-game winning streak and has won four of its last five games, including an impressive showing in a 15-5 win over Big East-power UConn on Wednesday.
Yale's Live Stats game-tracker for all four games can be found on YaleBulldogs.com.
400 and Counting
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 400 career victories in the Bulldogs' dugout. Stuper picked up his 400th win at Yale with the impressive 15-5 win over Big East-power UConn on Wednesday.
Senior Josh Scharff is riding a six-game hitting streak entering the weekend, while junior Jacob Hunter has reached base in his last nine games and sophomore Eric Hsieh has reached base in his last seven games. Sophomore Green Campbell has reached base in his last five games.
Campbell, Hunter and senior captain Chris Piwinski have all hit safely in Yale's last three games.
Yale has played its best baseball of the season over the last week, picking up four victories in six games since visiting Princeton and Cornell last weekend. The Bulldogs split the doubleheaders against Princeton and defending Ivy League champion Cornell last weekend, winning the nine-inning second game in both doubleheaders.
Senior captain Chris Piwinski leads 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.
Twenty games into the season, junior first baseman Jacob Hunter is leading the Bulldogs in slugging (.470), total hits (24), doubles (4), and he is tied with sophomore David Toups and senior Josh Scharff with the team lead in home runs. Sophomore Green Campbell is hitting a team-best .405 in his 14 appearances, and he holds a team-best .500 on-base percentage.
Five different Yale pitchers all have one victory this season. Starters Chris Lanham, David Hickey, Michael Coleman and Rob Cerfolio all have one win, while reliever Ben Joseph also picked up a win this season.
Joseph leads the team in strikeouts, with 19, while Campbell has held opposing batters to a team-low .167 average in four relief appearances.
Columbia enters the weekend with a 9-15 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Ivy League play. The Lions currently sit in last place in the Lou Gehrig Division, but they are just one game behind Penn, Princeton and Cornell, which are all tied at the top of the division with identical 3-1 records.
Columbia has lost four of its last six games entering the weekend, with the only wins coming in a home sweep of Harvard last weekend.
On paper, it appears that Yale will gain a little extra advantage playing Columbia at Yale Field. Of the 15 losses that Columbia has recorded this season, 12 have come on the road. The Lions are 3-12 on the road, 5-3 at home and 1-0 at a neutral site.
Joey Falcone leads the Columbia regulars with a .302 batting average and a .465 slugging percentage, though John Kinne is batting 1.000 and slugging 1.333 in five substitute appearances.
Alex Black leads the Lions with four home runs, while Eric Williams and Jordan Serena lead the team with six doubles apiece. Black also leads Columbia with 16 runs scored, while Nick Ferraresi leads the Lions with 16 RBIs.
David Speer (2-2) leads Columbia's starting pitchers with a 2.25 ERA. Speer, Joey Donino (2-0) and Zack Tax (2-0) all have two wins apiece. Reliever Mike Weisman leads the bullpen with a 1.08 ERA in seven relief appearances. Adam Cline (1-3) leads the team in strikeouts with 28, while Speer and Donino both have struck out 27 batters.
Penn enters the weekend with a 16-9 overall record and a 3-1 mark in Ivy League play. The Quakers will visit Brown on Saturday before traveling to Yale Field for Sunday's doubleheader.
Penn is 10-5 on the road and 6-4 at home this season. The Quakers had won nine out of 10 games prior to losing their two most recent home contests against Harvard on Monday and Villanova on Tuesday.
Ryan Deitrich is leading the Quakers in hitting (.443 batting average), slugging (.682), on-base percentage (.542), total hits (39), home runs (3) and runs scored (21). He is also tied with Austin Bossart for the team lead in triples (3). Michael Vilardo leads Penn in doubles (13) and RBIs (25).
Starting pitcher Dan Gautieri (4-0) leads the team with a 1.41 ERA, while Connor Cuff (4-1) leads the team in strikeouts with 21.
Reliever John Beasley has held opposing batters to a team-low .167 batting average in 10 relief appearances, while Ronnie Glenn leads the team in saves with six.
Last Time Out
Yale scored nine runs in the first two innings and five more runs in the fifth inning to cruise to a 15-5 win over in-state rival UConn on Wednesday. It was Yale's third win in a row and fourth in its previous five games.
It was the 400th career victory for head coach John Stuper, all of which came as the Bulldogs' skipper.
Yale outhit UConn 18-8. The two teams combined to use 15 pitchers.
Hunter went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored to lead Yale. Senior Josh Scharff went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks. Campbell went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Sophomore Eric Hsieh went 2-for-5 with three runs scored, while senior captain Chris Piwinski went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Yale is scheduled travel to Fairfield to take on in-state rival Fairfield University on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Yale holds a 25-17 all-time advantage over Fairfield in the history of the in-state rivalry, which dates back to the 1973 season. The Bulldogs have won 13 out of 15 meetings from 1998 through the 2009 season. However, the Stags have taken four of the last five games against the Bulldogs.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity