Live Stats: Yale-Hartford | Yale-UMass-Lowell
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After starting the 150th season in program history with a 1-3 record, the Yale baseball team has rebounded in a big way, going 3-1 in its last four games in a strong finish to the 2015 edition of the spring trip.
The Bulldogs (4-4, 0-0 Ivy) are fresh-off a doubleheader split with the Rhode Island Rams on Sunday, winning the first game, 6-5, and dropping the second, 4-0, at Bill Beck Field in Kingston, R.I. The split with the Rams came after consecutive wins against George Mason on Thursday and Towson on Friday.
The March schedule rolls on this week with Hartford on Tuesday and UMass-Lowell on Thursday, as the Elis look to regain their momentum heading into a four-game set with Holy Cross at the end of this week. Both games against the Hawks and River Hawks will be played at Fiondella Field at the Univ. of Hartford, with first pitches being thrown at 3:30 p.m.
Senior Eric Hsieh (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) has been swinging the hottest bat for Yale, hitting .448 in the early season, which is a team-high and fourth-best in the Ivy League. His hot streak has consisted of a 13-of-29 start at the plate, including a 5-for-5 day in the 9-5 win over Towson.
Sophomore Richard Slenker (Pound Ridge, N.Y.) has also been a big contributor, recording a team-high eight RBI, tied for third-most in the league. The second-year third baseman is hitting .364 in the first eight games, while also earning a team-best .545 slugging percentage.
Each of Yale's trio of starting pitchers, Chris Lanham (Houston, Texas), Chris Moates (Smithville, Ga.) and Chasen Ford (Lake Forest, Calif.), have picked up a win with each getting two starts on the mound. Ford went eight innings, allowing four earned runs while striking out seven in Yale's 6-5 win over the Rams on Sunday.
As a team, the Bulldogs have gained a reputation for manufacturing runs, currently with 53 combined in eight games, the second-most in the Ivy. The Elis are also third in doubles (16), second in RBI (42), and fourth in hits (79).
The Hartford Hawks are currently 5-8 (1-1 America East) and will play UMBC on Monday before their matchup with the Bulldogs on Tuesday. The Hawks hold wins over Central Connecticut and Seton Hall this season, while being swept by BYU in a four-game series and losing to Cornell, 4-3, back on Feb. 28 in Myrtle Beach.
Senior Trey Stover leads the Hawks with a .370 batting average, a slugging percentage of .519, and an on-base percentage of .485. Redshirt senior Ryan Lukach has three home runs and 12 RBI, both team-highs.
The Hartford pitching staff has combined for a 65-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season, but has racked up a combined 5.08 team ERA. The Hawks' pitchers have allowed 60 earned runs in 106.1 innings of work, while opposing hitters have combined for a .262 batting average against them.
In last season's game with the Hawks on March 20, the Bulldogs lost, 8-6, despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first two innings.
The River Hawks enter the week with a 3-6 record and will play two games against Hofstra and Fordham before playing Yale on Thursday. UMass-Lowell is the scheduled home team for the game, though it will be played in Hartford due to weather conditions affecting UL's playing surface.
UL is hitting .268 as a team from the dish this season, including Brice Erickson's team-high .438 average (7-of-16). The River Hawks have been big base stealers this season, already recording 24 on the season, compared to only four by their opponents. The River Hawks currently lead the America East in on-base percentage and steals.
The pitching staff has struggled to this point, combining for a 6.53 ERA and a 29-41 strikeout-to-walk ratio thus far. The River Hawks are also second-to-last in their conference in combined ERA with a 6.53.
The Bulldogs beat UMass-Lowell, 1-0, in last season's game when Lanham, Ford and Moates combined for a six-hit shutout. Though the Elis did not record a hit in the winning effort, a mix of an error, wild pitch, and suicide squeeze allowed Yale its only run.
Similar Start: With a 4-4 start to the season, the Bulldogs have matched their eight-game record from the 2014 season. A year ago, they held their wins over LSU, Bucknell, Ave Maria, and Stetson in the first two weeks of the season.
Five over .300: Five Yale players are currently hitting over .300, including team leaders Hsieh (.448) and sophomore Harrison White (.370). Slenker (.364), senior Green Campbell (.333), and sophomore Andrew Herrera (.316) round-out the five.
Filed by Steve Lewis, Yale Sports Publicity