NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale University baseball team opens up Ivy League play this weekend, playing two games at Penn on Monday and two at Columbia on Tuesday. While Yale is in the Red Rolfe Division of the Ivy League, both Penn and Columbia are in the alternative Lou Gehrig Division. It will be Yale's first opportunity to take steps towards the goal of an Ivy League championship.
Both Monday and Tuesday will feature doubleheaders beginning at noon.
Yale heads into the weekend with a 7-9 overall record and looking to end a three-game losing streak.
Live Stats game-tracker can be found at http://livestats.prestosports.com/yale/.
Freshman Harrison White made the Ivy League Sports "Honor Roll" (Honorable Mention) for a stellar past week. White was 6-for-13 with three runs and an RBI, including two key hits and a run in a victory over Holy Cross. On the year, he is batting .423 (11 for 26) with an on-base percentage of .531. He has been flawless in the field so far, with no errors.
Yale's solid start against tough non-conference teams bode well this year for Ivy League play. Good wins against top-ranked LSU, Bucknell, and UMass Lowell exemplify the high potential of the squad.
Last year, the team finished at 13-25 overall and 10-10 in the Ivy League, second in the Red Rolfe Division. This year's 7-9 start shines in comparison to a year ago, when the Elis entered conference play with a 1-13 record. In addition, Yale's 7-9 record is currently second-best in the conference, though no counting games have been played thus far. All signs point up for Yale.
First basemen Jacob Hunter has been a very consistent bat out of the three-hole. Sixteen games in, he leads the team in nearly every offensive category, including average (.317), RBIs (12), and slugging percentage (.483). Outfielders Eric Hsieh and Green Campbell have done well to set the table, with on-base percentages of .429 (team-leading) and .424, respectively.
On the mound, Chasen Ford, Chris Lanham, Michael Coleman, and David Hickey have been the starters the whole way through, each starting four games. Ford, the freshman, leads the four in ERA (4.39) and opposing batting average (.260). Chris Lanham leads the team in strikeouts (18) and wins (3). Chris Moates has been dependable out of the bullpen, with a 3.14 ERA and a save in seven appearances for 14 1/3 innings. Cale Hanson, often shifting from shortstop to close games, holds hitters to a .200 average and has notched a team leading three saves.
Penn, which finished last in the Lou Gehrig Division last year was a 7-13 conference record, enters the weekend with a 5-10 record.
After dropping the first six games of the season, Penn seems to have picked up the pace. Penn has won three of its last four games, and plays once more against Villanova on Thursday before the series versus Yale.
Penn has some serious power in the lineup, already with 15 home runs in as many games. Mitch Montaldo leads that charge, with team-high totals in home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.566). Jeff McGarry is tied for the lead in batting average (.291) with Rick Breber. McGarry also leads the team in RBIs (12), in large part thanks to his two home runs and five doubles.
Connor Cuff and Jack Hartman both have been stifling on the mound this year, each starting four games apiece. Cuff leads the team in both ERA (1.00) and complete games (2), also posting an insane 22/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Hartman leads the team in opposing batting average (.203) and wins (2), while posting a 1.80 ERA. He has only allowed a single extra-base hit all year.
Coming off an Ivy League championship last year, Columbia has started a bit slow. Columbia's record is currently 5-12, and it has lost its past five consecutive games. Contests against Army and Brown remain before Yale's Sunday games.
Jordan Serena has been the outright leader for Columbia at the plate. He leads the team in all of the triple slash categories: batting average (.358), on-base percentage (.429), and slugging percentage (.463).
Meanwhile, Robb Paller has been knocking in runners, with a team-leading 15 RBIs. He also posts a second-best .307 average himself.
Columbia has started David Speer, Joey Donino, and Kevin Roy on the mound each four times so far, with a grab bag of names filling out the final rotation spot. Speer has been by far the most durable and accurate. He leads the team in complete games (1) and has walked only two while striking out a team-high 21 batters. He also leads in ERA (3.72).
Donino has held batters to a team-low .246 batting average, and has surrendered just three extra-base hits in over twenty innings of work.
Yale played both Columbia and Penn in a weekend series last year on the weekend of March 6.
Columbia swept its two games, winning 2-1 and 5-2. Rob Cerfolio pitched a great first game, allowing five hits and an earned run in 6 1/3 innings.
In the second, an early 4-0 Columbia lead was cut into by a 2-RBI Chris Moates pinch hit single, but those would end up being Yale's only runs.
Yale split with Penn in the Sunday doubleheader, losing first 5-1, then winning 1-0. In the first game, a Joe Lubanski safety squeeze would generate the Bulldogs' only run, as starter Moates faded in the fifth and six innings to give up those five runs.
In game two, David Hickey pitched a complete game gem, shutting out the Quakers and striking out 11. He allowed just four hits and walked none. Yale's lone and eventual winning run came on an RBI double from Brent Lawson in the second inning.
Yale has no games until Monday's contest against Penn.
Report by Skylar Shibayama '16, Yale Sports Publicity