April 7, 2011

Yale Set To Welcome Penn, Columbia To Yale Field

Bulldogs Looking To Remain In First Place In Ivy League's Rolfe Division


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — After opening the Ivy League season at Cornell and Princeton, the Yale University baseball team has one more weekend of cross-division Ivy League play remaining before three straight weekends against Red Rolfe Division opponents, only this time the Bulldogs will take on their opponents from the Lou Gehrig Division from the comforts of historic Yale Field.

Yale swept a doubleheader last weekend at Cornell before Princeton swept the Bulldogs to end their seven-game winning streak, their longest since 2005.

The weekend's results left the Bulldogs (13-10, 2-2 Ivy League) in a first-place tie with Dartmouth in the Red Rolfe Division.

Now, the Bulldogs enter the weekend as winners of 10 of their last 14 games with Gehrig Division foes Penn and Columbia coming to town with a pair of doubleheaders scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Penn has won five in a row and 10 of its last 13 games, but the last nine of those games were played at home in Philadelphia.

The Quakers (13-10, 4-0 Ivy League) visit the Bulldogs on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Bulldogs will host defending Gehrig Division champion Columbia. The Lions (11-12, 2-2 Ivy League) opened the Ivy League season with a split of their weekend slate of games, falling in both games to Dartmouth in a rematch of last year's Ivy League championship. The Lions closed last weekend with a sweep of Harvard.

Yale's offense has cooled a bit since last weekend. During the first five games of the seven-game winning streak, the Bulldogs averaged 12.8 runs per game, outscoring opponents 64-15 in those games with three shutouts.

Since embarking on the Ivy League portion of the schedule, Yale has scored 5.6 runs per game. The Bulldogs went 3-2 in those games primarily because the pitching staff allowed only 2.2 runs per game.

Youth has served the Bulldogs well through the first 23 games this season. Of the seven players hitting better than .275, two are freshmen (Jacob Hunter, Cale Hanson) and two are sophomores (Josh Scharff, Cam Squires).

Scharff is leading the Bulldogs in hitting (.354), slugging (.583), on-base percentage (.456), and triples (2) while playing in 17 of the 23 games with 12 starts. Hunter is second on the team in hitting (.351), fourth in slugging (.456) and on-base percentage (.415), second in doubles (6), third in RBIs (17) while playing in 16 games with 15 starts.

Hanson has started all 23 games, playing primarily in center field. He has also appeared in five games as a relief pitcher. He is seventh on the team in hitting (.281) and leads the team in runs scored (20) and walks (11) and is third in hits (25). He is also leading the team with a spotless earned run average (0.00) in 6 innings of work.

The Bulldogs will start senior Vinny Lally (3-0) in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader. Lally is the Ivy League leader in strikeouts (46) and innings pitched (37.2). Junior Pat Ludwig (1-2) will start the second game against the Quakers.

Penn is led by Jeremy Maas, the Ivy League leader in hitting (.424), home runs (5), and hits (39), who is also second in the league in slugging (.652) and on-base percentage (.490).

Penn swept Yale last year after the Bulldogs swept the doubleheader in 2009.

Columbia is led by Nick Cox, who is fourth in the Ivy League in hitting (.409), while teammate Dario Pizzano is a hair behind at .405, which is fifth in the league. Cox is the league leader in runs scored and doubles (10) and he is second in hits (38). 

The Bulldogs will start Christopher O'Hare (2-0) in the opening game on Sunday and Brook Hart (3-2) in the final game of the weekend. Hart is third in the Ivy League in ERA (2.01).

Columbia has won five straight games against the Bulldogs. Yale's last win came in a 7-2 decision on March 30, 2008.

Live stats will be available for both doubleheaders at www.yalebulldogs.com.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity

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