March 22, 2012

Yale Set for Four vs. Hartford

Bulldogs Kick Off Four-Game Set vs. Hawks Friday at Yale Field

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University baseball team welcomes the University of Hartford to historic Yale Field Friday for a doubleheader that will kick off a four-game home-and-home series that will close with a second doubleheader on Saturday in West Hartford.

The first pitch of the opening game of Friday's doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m., with Game 2 beginning about 30 minutes after the final out of the first game.

Juniors Pat Ludwig (RHP, Game 1) and Nolan Becker (LHP, Game 2) are scheduled to start the two games for the Bulldogs (4-11-1) on Friday at Yale Field. Junior left-hander Christopher O'Hare (Game 1) and sophomore left-hander Rob Cerfolio (Game 2) are slated to pitch the doubleheader at the University of Hartford's Fiondella Field on Saturday. The first pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Hartford (2-14) will counter with sophomore right-handers Hunter Englehart (Game 1) and Brian Hunter (Game 2) on Friday. Sophomore Alex Gouin (Game 1) and freshman lefty Sean Newcomb (Game 2) are the probable starters for Saturday's twin bill.

Yale is looking to snap a three-game losing streak, which includes a doubleheader sweep at Stony Brook on Sunday and an 8-0 loss at UConn on Wednesday. Since winning the final game of their Florida trip against Lafayette, the Bulldogs have lost four of their last five games, with the lone win coming in a 1-0 home victory against Stony Brook in which the Seawolves outhit the Bulldogs 10-1.

Both teams are looking to break away from their early season struggles. Through the first 16 games, Yale is hitting just .225 as a team, scoring just 49 runs while allowing opponents to score 117 runs. The pitching staff has a combined ERA of 6.94.

Hartford isn't faring much better with a .264 team batting average, scoring 71 runs while allowing 121 runs. The Hawks pitching staff has a collective ERA of 7.21.

Sophomore shortstop Cale Hanson is leading the Bulldogs in hitting (.370), slugging (.444.), on-base percentage (.424), total hits (20), total bases (24), sacrifice bunts (4), and stolen bases (3). He is second on the team in doubles (4), walks (5), and total plate appearances (63). Hanson has also earned one victory (1-0) in two relief appearances.

Ludwig (0-1), Friday's Game 1 starter, is the team's top pitcher so far this season, with a team-leading ERA (1.17) and 23 strikeouts in three starts. He has held opposing bats to a team-low .220 average. He has allowed a total of just five runs in his three starts, with three of those being earned runs. Becker (0-2), Yale's Game 2 starter, is second on the team in runs allowed (10), earned runs allowed (9), walks (9), ERA (4.58), opposing batting average (.242) and strikeouts (11).

O'Hare, Saturday's Game 1 starter, has a team-high four starts under his belt so far this season. He holds a record of 1-2 and is tied with Becker for second on the team in strikeouts (11). Cerfolio, the Game 2 starter on Saturday, is 0-1 in three starts, but he is coming off of his best performance of the season in which he scattered seven hits in five scoreless innings in the 1-0 win over Stony Brook. He took a no-decision, but he walked just one batter and gave the Bulldogs the chance to pull out the win late.

While Hanson may be Yale's only hitter with a batting average above .300, Hartford has just two hitters above that mark. James Alfonso leads the team with a stellar .426 average, while Andy Drexel is second on the team with a .322 average. Alfonso and Drexel are first and second on the team, respectively, in slugging (.630, .559), runs scored (13, 12), total hits (23, 19), and total bases (34, 33). Drexel leads the team in home runs (3), and the two are tied for the team lead in doubles with five each.

Following the four-game series, Yale will visit another in-state rival, Quinnipiac, before starting Ivy League play next weekend with doubleheaders at Columbia (Saturday) and Penn (Sunday).

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity

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