March 26, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Through 11 games in the 2009 season, the Yale baseball team has shown a lot of promise at the plate, on the mound and in the field. However, the time for showing potential has passed, and the time for reaching potential has arrived, as the Bulldogs will begin the Ivy League schedule this weekend with doubleheaders at Princeton and Cornell. Yale travels to New Jersey on Saturday for a doubleheader with the Tigers beginning at noon, and then treks to Ithaca on Sunday for a noon twin bill with Big Red. The Elis begin the Ancient Eight season with a record of 4-7.
Sophomore infielders Gant Elmore and Andy Megee lead the Yale offense, which is hitting .303 as a team. Elmore has posted a team-best .421 batting average and has scored a team-high 11 runs from the lead-off or two-hole in the lineup. Megee heads the Bulldogs in hits (18), doubles (5), triples (2), extra-base hits (8), total bases (30) and stolen bases (4). He is batting .367 with one home run, six RBI and 10 runs scored. The sophomore from Los Angeles, Calif., who has started all 11 games at the hot corner for Yale, has also tossed three scoreless innings in a trio of relief appearances on the mound.
A trio of Bulldogs has driven in nearly half of Yale's runs this season. Leading the way is junior Trygg Larsson-Danforth, who has racked up a team-best 10 RBI. The 6'6 first baseman is batting .375, mostly as the clean-up hitter in the Elis' line-up, with a home run and 10 runs scored. Senior center fielder Stefan Schropp has been one of the most consistent Bulldogs at the plate, batting .326 and currently in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. The Yale captain has driven in nine runs, slugged one home run and swiped three bases.
Perhaps the most surprising power source for the Bulldogs has been freshman Zach Tobolowsky. The 5'9 newcomer leads Yale with four home runs and a team-best slugging percentage of .684. Tobolowsky is batting .316 with nine RBI and six runs scored. He was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week earlier this season after hitting .538 (7-13) with three home runs and five RBI in the first three games of his collegiate career.
On the mound, senior Brandon Josselyn has been the ace of the Yale staff. While two rough starts have inflated his earned run average to 5.91, Josselyn has tossed two gems for the Bulldogs. On March 11 at Davidson, he silenced the Wildcats' offense with a 7.2 inning, five-hit performance to guide the Bulldogs to a 4-2 victory The right-hander struck out seven batters in the victory and walked only one batter. Josselyn was even better in his most recent start, an 8-2 Yale win at Holy Cross. Josselyn tossed a no-hitter through the first six frames, and went on to allow just three hits and two earned runs in his seven innings of work. He struck out four and walked two. Josselyn's most recent appearance was a perfect inning in relief against Connecticut on March 31.
The most efficient pitcher in the Yale bullpen this season has been Eric Shultz. Shultz, the Elis' freshman closer, has registered a 1.12 earned run average in eight appearances, hurling a total of eight innings. Opponents are batting just .111 against Shultz, who has struck out three and allowed just three hits and one earned run. He worked 2.1 innings of hitless relief to notch his first career save on March 9 at Maryland-Baltimore County, and closed out Davidson on March 11 to earn another save. Shultz also posted zeroes on the scoreboard in the ninth inning of Yale's contests with Holy Cross and Connecticut. He is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week after surrendering one hit and no earned runs in four appearances from March 17-21,
The Princeton Tigers enter league play with a record of 7-6. The Tigers finished last season with an overall record of 20-22 and an 11-9 league mark, placing them second in the Ivy League's Gehrig Division. Yale and Princeton split a doubleheader at Yale Field in 2008.
The Tigers offense is led by Greg Van Horn, who is batting at a clip of .472 with 12 RBI in 36 at-bats this season. Brian Berkowitz has been the most productive Tiger with 14 RBI. Van Horn and Berkowitz have each smacked two home runs.
David Hale has been the ace of the Princeton staff. The junior right-hander is yet to allow an earned run in 13 innings. He has made two starts, including a combined seven-inning shutout at Navy, and one appearance out of the bullpen en route to posting a 1-0 record. Hale has struck out 15 batters, allowed 10 hits and issued five walks. Eight unearned runs have crossed the plate with Hale was on the mound.
The Cornell Big Red, who will host a doubleheader with Brown on Saturday, begin league play at 2-10. Big Red is currently on a 10-game losing skid. Cornell went 12-27 overall in 2008, including a 6-14 Ivy League tally. The Bulldogs swept Cornell in New Haven last season to extend its win streak in the series to three games.
Nathan Ford leads the Big Red offense with a .362 batting average and a team-best eight RBI. Matt Hill has been the squad's most frequent starter, posting a complete-game shutout in his first appearance of the season. Hill is 1-3 with a 5.56 earned run average.
After their quartet of Ivy League contests this weekend, the Bulldogs will begin a nine-game home stand on Tuesday with a non-conference doubleheader against Maine. The twin bill, which will feature a pair of seven-inning games, begins at 3:30 p.m. from historic Yale Field in New Haven.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity