WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale Baseball Team heads to Florida over spring break to take part in the annual RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. There, the Bulldogs will play one game a day from Sunday through Wednesday against non-conference opponents. The game series is as follows:
-vs LIU Brooklyn (Chain of Lakes Park), Sunday March 9, 6:00 PM EDT
Projected Yale starter: Chris Lanham (1-0, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP, 0 K, 1 BB)
-vs Bucknell (Chain of Lakes Park), Monday March 10, 1:00 PM EDT
Projected Yale starter: Chasen Ford (0-1, 2.84 ERA, 6.1 IP, 2 K, 1 BB)
-at Bowling Green (Chain of Lakes Park), Tuesday March 11, 5:30 PM EDT
Projected Yale starter: David Hickey (0-1, 135.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 1 K, 3 BB)
-at Ave Maria (Webber International University, Babson Park), Wednesday March 12, 2:00 PM EDT
Projected Yale starter: Michael Coleman (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 4 IP, 1 K, 2 BB)
Coming In Hot
Yale heads to the Sunshine State coming off of perhaps the greatest upset in college baseball this season. On March 2nd, Yale defeated top-ranked LSU to close out Yale's opening series. Led by multi-hit games from Nate Adams, Jacob Hunter, Green Campbell, and Robert Baldwin, the Elis fought their way to an 8-7 victory in Louisiana. It was the first win against a top-three ranked opponent in the history of Yale baseball.
Yale played both LIU Brooklyn and Bucknell last year at the RussMatt Invitational.
Chris Lanham started last year against LIU and is slated to face them again Sunday. He allowed 3 earned runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings of work, taking the loss. Yale put together a late-game rally but couldn't quite close the deficit, losing 4-3.
Against Bucknell, Yale's bat carried the team to victory. With 13 total hits, the Bulldogs outmuscled Bucknell 5-2. Adams, Kevin Fortunato, Hunter, and Campbell all notched two hits in the game, as Ben Joseph earned the win and Chris Moates the save.
Yale's only series thus far was against LSU, where the Bulldogs played better each game. Jacob Hunter has gotten off to a hot start, batting .400 with two doubles in the first three games. Underclassmen Lanham, Chasen Ford, and Chris Moates have each looked solid throughout the small sample size versus a strong LSU lineup. Lanham will get his first start of the year Sunday, while Ford, David Hickey, and Michael Coleman will be starting their second.
About LIU Brooklyn
LIU, from the Northeast Conference, has started off slowly this season with a 3-7 record. At the plate, they are led by Jon McCallister, a junior outfielder with a .375 batting average in a team-high 40 at bats. Bobby Webb, a junior third basemen, also is above the .300 mark and has four extra base hits on the year so far. On the mound, Freshman Bobby Maxwell is setting the pace with a 2.81 ERA in three starts. He has pitched 16 innings in that time, allowing 14 hits including only one extra base hit. In the bullpen, junior Dustin Carlson has shut down opposing hitters, keeping them scoreless through 6 2/3 innings. Carlson has struck out seven and walked only one in five appearances.
Bucknell comes into the RussMatt having won three of their last four games and a season record of 4-5. Senior captain Corey Furman is the clear leader for the Bison, hitting .448 and slugging a whopping .793. This past week Furman was awarded the Patriot League Player of the Week. Sophomore Joe Ogren has also shown a hot stick, batting .400 in a team-high 35 at bats. The starting pitching hasn't been quite as strong for Bucknell, whose starter all have ERAs over 4.80. But senior righty Tom Hrabchak has dominated in his three appearances out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit and earning six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
About Bowling Green
Bowling Green looks to improve in Florida after starting off on a bad note. With a 2-8 record, the Falcons have dropped their past six games. Still their lineup features four hitters with .300+ averages, including senior Patrick Lancaster whose .375 average and 16 total bases lead the team. Senior starting pitcher Mike Frank has easily been the most consistent starter, with a 2.08 ERA and ten strikeouts to just four walks in 13 innings of work. Out of the bullpen, senior Ethan McKenney still has allowed no runs through six appearances and eight innings. He has kept opposing hitters to a .111 batting average this season.
About Ave Maria
Ave Maria sits at an even 13-13 record heading into the Invitational. The Gyrenes feature some pop in the lineup, with nine home runs already in the year. Five of those have been off the bat of senior outfielder Hunter McCarthy, whose 20 RBIs lead the team. Ave Maria's lineup has many strong hitters besides McCarthy; three of which have batting averages above .340 and slugging percentages over .430 (Aaron Pigna, Conor Sullivan, and Tommy Lentine). On the mound, senior Ethan Striz has started seven games for 49 innings, earning a minute 1.29 ERA. His 24 strikeouts are good for second on the team. Freshman Regis Easler has relieved for 10 innings in seven appearances, and allowed only one run in that time.
Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity