Bulldogs Begin Yale Field Schedule This Week

March 23, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After posting a 4-6 mark on its annual spring trip, the Yale baseball team comes home to New Haven on Wednesday to continue the 2009 campaign. The Bulldogs will open their home schedule against Connecticut in a single, nine-inning game slated for a 3:30 start (GameTracker Live Stats).

Yale's 2009 spring trip which included contests with Wagner, Maryland-Baltimore County, Davidson, Towson and Holy Cross, featured signs of rust and glimpses of brilliance at the plate, on the mound and in the field.

Offensively, 14 different Bulldogs have appeared in the batting order this season. Sophomore Gant Elmore currently leads Yale with a .432 batting average. Batting primarily in the two-slot of the Elis' lineup, he also leads the way with 11 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .572. Elmore split time between the two middle-infield positions on the spring trip, logging five starts at second base and five starts at shortstop.

Another big bat throughout the 10-game trip was sophomore third baseman Andy Megee, who is currently batting .378 with six runs batted in. Megee leads the Bulldogs in hits (17), doubles (5), triples (2), extra-base hits (8), total bases (29) and stolen bases (4). He has recorded seven multiple-hit games, including a four-hit effort on March 17 at Towson. The sophomore has also tossed two hitless innings on the mound, allowing just one batter to reach first base in a pair of relief appearances.

The power in the Yale lineup has come from a quartet of sluggers, led by junior Trygg Larsson-Danforth. The 6'6 lefty is batting .361 with three extra-base hits and a team-high 10 runs batted in this season. His home run at Towson on March 17 traveled an estimated 460 feet, clearing the 424' sign in center field by at least 30 feet.

Perhaps the most surprising power source for the Elis has been freshman Zach Tobolowsky. The 5'9 newcomer from Dallas, Texas has belted a team-best four home runs while hitting .314 with nine RBI. Tobolowsky was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week after hitting .538 (7-13) with three home runs and five RBI in the first three games of his collegiate career.

Two seniors have shouldered their share of the run production in the early stages of 2009. Team captain Stefan Schropp has recorded a hit in nine of the Bulldogs' first 10 contests, posting a .333 average with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI. Catcher Davis Stanley has added seven RBI, hitting .333 with a home run and three doubles.

On the mound, senior Brandon Josselyn has been the ace of the Yale staff. While two rough starts have inflated his earned run average to 6.20, Josselyn has tossed two gems for the Bulldogs. On March 11 at Davidson, he silenced the Wildcats' offense with a 7.2 inning, five-hit performance to guide the Bulldogs to a 4-2 victory The right-hander struck out seven batters in the victory and walked only one batter. Josselyn was even better in his most recent start, an 8-2 Yale win at Holy Cross. Josselyn tossed a no-hitter through the first six frames, and went on to allow just three hits and two earned runs in his seven innings of work. He struck out four and walked two.

The unsung heroes of the Yale pitching staff have been relievers Robert Gruber and Eric Shultz. Gruber, a 6'7 junior, has tossed 10.1 innings over five appearances and leads the Elis with a 1.74 ERA. He allowed two earned runs in four innings of relief work on March 9 at Maryland-Baltimore County to pick up his first win of the season. He also tossed three scoreless innings in the Bulldogs' win at Towson on March 17 and struck out the side in another scoreless frame of work in the March 21 victory at Holy Cross.

Shultz, the Elis' freshman closer, has registered a 1.29 earned run average in seven appearances, hurling a total of seven innings. He worked 2.1 innings of hitless relief to notch his first career save on March 9 at Maryland-Baltimore County, and closed out Davidson on March 11 to earn another save. Shultz also posted a zero on the scoreboard in the ninth inning of Yale's March 21 win at Holy Cross.

The Connecticut Huskies, recently swept in a three-game series by West Virginia to fall to 7-10 on the season, will host Holy Cross on Tuesday before traveling to Yale Field on Wednesday. Sophomore shortstop Mike Olt leads five Huskies with batting averages above .333, hitting .359 with team highs of four home runs and 20 runs batted in. Juniors Peter Fatse and Matt Burnett have been the other big run producers for Connecticut with 17 and 16 RBI respectively.

The Huskies' bullpen boasts six hurlers with earned run averages below 3.40, while senior John Folino leads the rotation with 24 innings pitched through four starts. Folino boasts a 1-2 record and a 3.75 ERA. Opponents are batting .304 against Folino, who has fanned 21 batters and issued seven free passes.

Connecticut will be the final tune-up for Yale prior to the Ivy League schedule, which kicks off with four contests this weekend. The Bulldogs head to Princeton on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday for a pair of Ancient Eight doubleheaders. Next Tuesday (March 31), the Bulldogs begin a nine-game home stand with a non-conference doubleheader against Maine beginning at 1 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity