Bulldogs Host NYIT on Opening Day at Yale Field

Ryan Brenner (Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Ryan Brenner (Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Historic Yale Field begins its 83rd season of faithful service for the Yale baseball team this weekend, as the Bulldogs host the New York Institute of Technology for a Saturday doubleheader to open the 2010 home schedule. Yale (9-5-1) is in the midst of its best 15-game start since 1993, while the Bears from NYIT (3-7) have lost four straight games. The first pitch of game one of the afternoon twinbill is slated for 12 p.m. Both contests will be seven innings, with a nine-inning wrap-up to the series being held in Old Westbury, N.Y. on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Despite tallying just one run in a 7-1 loss at Connecticut in their last outing, the Bulldogs’ offense has been a cornerstone to success in 2010. Yale, the highest-ranked Ivy League team in the most recent Ping!Baseball regional rankings at fifth, has tallied 10 or more runs in nine of its first 15 games, including eight of its nine victories. The Bulldogs are batting .336 as a team and scoring 8.73 runs per contest. Yale is also 22-for-29 on stolen base attempts and boasts a .955 fielding percentage.

Leading the offense is senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth, a 2009 All-Ivy first team honoree.  The 6’6” lefty currently owns or shares the Yale highs in batting average (.414), slugging percentage (.741), hits (24), home runs (4), RBI (22) and total bases (43) while starting all 15 games at first base. In total, Larsson-Danforth leads seven Bulldogs hitting at least .313 (minimum 33 at-bats) on the season.

A trio of juniors has emerged at the top of the order, with second baseman Gant Elmore batting leadoff to the tune of a .369 average. Elmore shares the team high of 24 hits and is 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts. Behind him is third baseman Andy Megee, who is batting .371 with four home runs and a team-best eight stolen bases. Trey Rallis, an infielder/designated hitter, bats third and boasts a team-high .537 on-base percentage. He is hitting .404 with three home runs and 12 runs batted in.

After using eight pitchers in a “staff game” in Storrs on Wednesday, Mazzuto Family Head Coach John Stuper will turn to three of his top arms for the weekend series with the Bears. Junior left-hander Brook Hart gets the ball for series opener riding a streak of three scoreless appearances (10.2 innings), including a two-hit shutout in his last start at Hartford on March 20. Hart is currently 2-0 with a team-best 2.55 earned run average. Opponents are hitting just .231 against the rookie southpaw, who has earned two Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors already this season.

Sophomore right-hander Pat Ludwig will take the hill for game two, coming off of a hard-luck loss in the game against the Huskies in which he did not allow an earned run. On the season, Ludwig (2-2) owns a 4.00 ERA and has tallied a team-best 20 strikeouts in 18 innings of work. He also holds the team lead with a 5.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Another rookie southpaw is slated to pitch game three on Long Island on Sunday, with freshman Christopher O’Hare scheduled to make his fifth start of the season. O’Hare, who started at Connecticut on Wednesday and posted a pair of zeroes in his two scheduled innings of work, is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA. He is the Bulldogs’ leader with 19.1 innings pitched, striking out 17 batters and allowing just six earned runs in that time.

Yale returns to the diamond for its final tune-up prior to Ivy League play on Wednesday at Quinnipiac. First pitch from Hamden is scheduled for 3 p.m. Ancient Eight competition starts next weekend as the Bulldogs hit the road to challenge Gehrig Division opponents Columbia and Penn.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity