NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale baseball team used last week's non-conference doubleheader- a split with Sacred Heart- to get back on track after starting the Ivy League season with four straight losses. The goal has changed this Wednesday, however, as the Bulldogs will look to use a non-conference twinbill against Fairfield to keep their momentum rolling after taking three of four games from Gehrig Division Cornell and Princeton this past weekend. Yale (15-12-1, 3-5 Ivy) will send right-handers Greg Lyons (1-2, 5.79 ERA) and Chris Finneran (0-0, 5.40 ERA) to the mound in the squad's final tune-ups prior to the commencement of Red Rolfe Division play on Saturday at defending Ivy League champion Dartmouth. The Stags (12-14, 3-3 MAAC) come to Yale Field as winners of four of their last five games.
Wednesday's twinbill will close out a string of eight consecutive home games for the Bulldogs, who have gone 4-2 on the homestand thus far. Junior second baseman Gant Elmore is batting .478 over the stretch, raising his season batting average to a team-best .405. Elmore and senior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth have each racked up five runs batted in over the last six games, with Larsson-Danforth notching of his RBI on a walk-off home run against Cornell on Saturday.
Senior right-hander Robert Gruber has tallied three relief wins in his last three appearances, posting 5.2 scoreless frames to lower his season ERA to 1.38. Junior southpaw Vinny Lally (5-1, 4.75 ERA) has also tallied a win on the homestand, while junior left-hander Brook Hart (1) and sophomore right-hander Greg Lyons (2) each notched a save this past week.
On the season, the Bulldogs are batting .311 as a team. Yale, which has four qualifying players (min. 62 at-bats) hitting over .300, is slugging a scorching .497, with nearly 38% of its hits going for extra bases. The Elis are also 37-for-54 on the basepaths and boast a .961 fielding percentage. Larsson-Danforth leads the way with seven home runs and 32 RBI, and junior third baseman Andy Megee has stolen 10 bases on 13 attempts.
The Yale pitching staff owns a collective ERA of 5.51 in 220.2 innings of work. Batters are hitting .308 against Elis' hurlers, who have recorded 173 strikeouts and issued 93 walks (1.86 K/BB ratio). Lally leads the staff with five wins, while Lyons' two saves are a team best.
The Fairfield Stags are hitting .277 as a club, led by a .380 average for Anthony Hajjar. Hajjar is the only regular player hitting over .300, though Tucker Nathans is just a shade below that with a .298 batting average in addition to his 21 RBI. Marco Garamella has driven in a team-best 25 runs for the Stags, who are 27-for-39 on stolen base attempts with a .956 fielding percentage.
Fairfield's hurlers boast a 7.14 ERA and 1.33 K/BB ratio (146/110) in 223.0 innings on the mound. Rob Gariano (2-3, 3.65) pitched a complete game on Saturday, while Sam Robertson (2-2, 5.29 ERA) went eight innings on Sunday. Dan Urbanovich, who pitched the ninth for Robertson in a non-save situation, is the only other Stags hurler to have thrown in a live game since April 5.
Yale has won four of the last five meetings with the Stags after last season's split in New Haven. The Bulldogs' game-one win was the record-breaking 333rd victory in the Yale career of Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball John Stuper. Yale leads the all-time series dates, which back to a 6-3 Elis' win on April 30, 1973, but a 24-14 margin.
The Bulldogs return to the diamond on Saturday for the first of back-to-back doubleheaders at Rolfe Division opponent Dartmouth. Action returns to Yale Field the following weekend as the Bulldogs host a quartet of games with another Rolfe Division foe, historic rival Harvard.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity