Key Rolfe Division Showdown Awaits Yale at Harvard

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David Hickey. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs and Crimson (3-5) Sit One Game Behind 4-4 Dartmouth For Division Lead

 
 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University baseball team currently sits in a tie for second place in the Rolfe Division of the Ivy League with Harvard, just one game behind Dartmouth, which makes this weekend's four-game series against the Crimson in Cambridge, Mass., a crucial series in the race for the division title and a berth in the Ivy League Championship.

 

Yale will visit Harvard for a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m., and Sunday, beginning at 12 p.m. The Bulldogs, 6-19 overall and 3-5 in Ivy League play, can surge into first place in the division with a strong showing in Cambridge against the Crimson (6-22 overall, 3-5 Ivy League).

Yale had won four of five games to build some momentum, but the Bulldogs have since lost four of their last five games. Harvard has lost eight of its last 11 games.

Yale's Live Stats game-tracker for all four games can be found on GoCrimson.com.

 

Probable Starters

Sam Dodge (0-6, 5.40 ERA) vs. Rob Cerfolio (1-3, 2.45 ERA)
Sean Poppen (1-1, 4.40 ERA) vs. Michael Coleman (1-4, 4.15 ERA)
Tanner Anderson (0-4, 10.35 ERA) vs. Chris Moates (0-3, 2.49 ERA)
TBA vs. David Hickey (2-2, 4.12 ERA)

 

Mirror Images

Both Harvard and Yale enter the weekend with similar records and nearly identical showings against teams from the Ivy League's Lou Gehrig Division.

In cross-divisional play over the past two weekends, Yale and Harvard split with Cornell, Princeton and Penn and both were swept by Columbia.

The Crimson is 3-17 in non-league play and 2-3 at home. Yale is 3-14 in non-league play and 3-14 in games away from Yale Field.

Overall, Harvard is fifth in the Ivy League in hitting with a .249 team batting average, while Yale is sixth with a .241 average. Yale is sixth in the league in RBIs with 82, while Harvard is seventh with 79. Harvard is sixth in the league in runs scored with 93 and Yale is seventh with 88.

Where the teams differ is on the mound. Yale's pitchers own a team earned run average of 4.64, which is fifth in the Ivy League, while Harvard is last in the league with a 6.78 team ERA. Yale's pitchers have allowed 220 hits, which is fourth in the league, while Harvard has allowed a league-worst 289 hits.

 

About Yale

Yale has struggled at the plate in the last five games since pounding out 18 hits and 15 runs, both season-highs, against UConn in a 15-5 win on April 3. Since that victory, Yale has averaged 5.4 hits per game in the last five games with a high of eight hits in the only win in that stretch, a 1-0 win over Penn on Sunday.

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-five games into the season, junior first baseman Jacob Hunter is leading the Bulldogs in slugging (.393), total hits (26), total bases (33), 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 .391 in his 16 appearances, and he holds a team-best .435 on-base percentage.

Junior left-hander David Hickey (2-2) holds the team lead in pitching victories, while four other pitchers all have one victory. Starters Chris Lanham, Michael Coleman and Rob Cerfolio all have one win, while reliever Ben Joseph has also picked up a win this season.

Cerfolio (1-3) leads the Bulldogs' starters with a 2.45 earned run average, while reliever Robert Baldwin is leading the bullpen with a 2.49 ERA and 2.16 ERA, respectively.

Joseph leads the team in strikeouts, with 24, while Campbell has held opposing batters to a team-low .167 average in four relief appearances.

 

About Harvard

Harvard enters the weekend with a 6-22 overall record and a 3-5 mark in Ivy League play. Coming into the series, the Crimson is hitting .249 as a team, fifth among the eight Ivy League teams.

Mike Martin leads the Crimson with a .302 average and a .436 on-base percentage. Brandon Kregel is second in hitting with a .301 average, and he his leading the Crimson in slugging (.451), runs scored (18), total hits (34), RBIs (14), triples (2), home runs (2), and total bases (51). The two are also tied for the team lead in doubles with seven.

Saturday's Game 1 starter, Sam Dodge, leads the pitching staff with 24 strikeouts.

 

All-Time Series/Last Meeting

The two teams have met 365 times since 1868. Overall, Harvard owns a 191-173-1 lead in the all-time series. Since 1900, Harvard holds a 151-127-1 record over the Bulldogs.

The two teams split the series at Yale Field last season, with the four games decided by a total of five runs, including three one-run games. The two teams have split the season series in each of the last five seasons dating back to 2008.

 

Pitcher of the Week

David Hickey tossed 11 scoreless innings last week and picked up a pair of victories, earning the Ivy League's Pitcher of the Week award.

Hickey's top performance came in a 1-0 victory over Penn. He pitched all nine innings, struck out a career-high 11 and limited the Quakers to just four hits. Earlier in the week, Hickey was the starting pitcher against UConn, tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three on a "staff day." The Bulldogs went on to a 15-5 victory over the Huskies.

On the season, Hickey is striking out nearly eight hitters per nine innings, and opponents are batting just .235 against him.
 

Last Time Out

Joe Lubanski belted an RBI double in the fourth inning to give Yale a short-lived 2-1 lead, but in-state rival Fairfield responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run home run by Rob LoPinto and held on for a 3-2 win over the visiting Bulldogs on Wednesday.

Yale outhit Fairfield 5-4 and also had the benefit of two errors by the Stags. Josh Scharff also doubled for the Bulldogs, while Nate Adams and David Toups scored the two Yale runs.

 

Next Up

Yale is scheduled travel to the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport to take on in-state rival Sacred Heart on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Yale holds a 24-8 all-time advantage over Sacred Heart in the history of the in-state rivalry, which dates back to the 1990 season. The Bulldogs have won 21 out of the last 25 meetings.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity