April 6, 2009

Sacred Heart Visits Yale Field on Tuesday

April 6, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Coming off of a pair of Ivy League victories over Penn at Yale Field on Sunday, the Yale baseball team looks to keep its momentum going as intra-state rival Sacred Heart visits New Haven for a Tuesday doubleheader. Yale enters the twin bill, which will consist of two seven-inning games, at 8-12 overall, while the Pioneers currently sport a 9-15-1 mark.

Junior Trygg Larsson-Danforth and sophomore Andy Megee, the two most consistent hitters in the Yale line-up, sparked Sunday's doubleheader sweep of the Quakers. In the first game, Larsson-Danforth went 3-for-4 with two home runs, including a walk-off, two-run blast with the Bulldogs just two outs away from defeat. Megee went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases in the nightcap, though he made a much larger contribution on the hill, allowing just one run on two hits through five innings in his first start of the season.

For the season, Megee leads the Bulldogs with a .400 batting average. He also paces the Elis in hits (34), total bases (51), doubles (8), triples (3) and stolen bases (7). In eight innings of work on the mound, Megee is 1-0 with a 1.12 earned run average. He has surrendered just three hits and one earned run, while striking out seven and issuing five walks. Larsson-Danforth is hitting .356 on the season with four home runs, sharing the team lead with freshman Zach Tobolowsky, and a team-high 20 runs batted in. He has also stolen four bases and leads all Bulldogs with 17 runs scored.

Senior right-hander Brandon Josselyn has been the workhorse of the Bulldogs' starting rotation, posting a 3-2 record with a 5.45 earned run average this season. He has registered 30 strikeouts and issued just 13 walks in a team-best 34.2 innings of work over seven appearances (six starts). Sophomore left-hander Vinny Lally struggled in his most recent start, but has looked nearly unhittable in his two victories, proving himself as a solid No. 2 starter behind Josselyn.

Freshman closer Eric Shultz and junior Robert Gruber, both submarine-pitching right-handers, have been the most reliable members of the Yale bullpen this season. Shultz is 1-0 with a 1.54 earned run average and has converted both of his save opportunities. Batters are hitting just .205 against Shultz through 11.2 innings of work. Gruber has appeared in a team-best 19.2 innings out of the bullpen. The 6'7 reliever has stranded more than half of his inherited runners this season (7-of-13 stranded), and has induced five of the Elis' 17 turned double plays.

Freshmen Greg Lyons and Pat Ludwig, both right-handed pitchers, have bounced back from difficult starts to their collegiate careers to become solid members of the Yale staff. Lyons owns a 4.24 earned run average in 17 innings of work, but has posted a 1.50 ERA and held opponents to a .185 batting average in his last five appearances. Ludwig came back from the Bulldogs' spring trip with a 15.95 ERA, but has since notched a 3.38 ERA in two Ivy League appearances.

The Sacred Heart Pioneers opened Northeast Conference play this past week with a home victory against Fairleigh Dickinson, then proceeded to drop three straight to the Knights to fall to 9-15-1 overall and 1-3 in NEC action. First baseman Jeff Hanson leads a trio of Pioneers hitting over .300 with a .451 batting average. Hanson has also posted the best power numbers for Sacred Heart with seven home runs and 28 RBI. The three most-frequent starting pitchers for Sacred Heart own earned run averages under 3.90, led by a 3.60 ERA from Jared Balbach. He has earned the win in four of the Pioneers' nine victories en route to notching a 4-2 mark. Three Sacred Heart pitchers have earned saves, led by two from Mike Drowne.

The Bulldogs defeated the Pioneers last year at Yale Field by a score of 12-4. Yale has won two straight over Sacred Heart, and six of the last seven meetings dating back to the 2005 season.

Ivy League play resumes this weekend as the Elis bring their 4-4 Ancient Eight record to Cambridge, Mass. for noon doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday at Harvard.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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