April 17, 2009
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - With eight games remaining the 2009 Ivy League season, the Yale baseball team finds itself at 5-7 in league play, six games behind the Red Rolfe Division leader, 11-1 Dartmouth. While the math may not be on the Bulldogs' side in that equation, the schedule is, as Big Green comes to New Haven this weekend for a pair of noon doubleheaders at Yale Field.
This weekend is also an historic event for the Bulldogs, as the team will dedicate its new practice facility on Friday: John and Theresa Mazzuto Field. The beautiful, new field turf facility, named in honor of John Mazzuto '70 and his wife, Theresa, enables the Yale baseball team to practice outside in almost any weather. John Mazzuto, a former Bulldogs' shortstop, and his family have been generous supporters of the program for many years, and the head coaching position at Yale has been renamed the Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball in their honor.
The Bulldogs enter the weekend having dropped four of their last five contests, including three straight at Harvard to close out a four-game series in Cambridge. Yale rebounded with very strong effort in Wednesday's home doubleheader split with Fairfield. In first game of the twin bill with the Stags, the Elis' bullpen held the visitors hitless for the final 7.1 innings of an 11-inning contest as Yale came back from a three-run deficit to win by a score of 4-3. Freshman closer Eric Shultz tossed the final 4.2 innings of the contest, allowing just one baserunner in that span, to earn the win and even his record at 2-2. Shultz is a perfect 3-for-3 in save situations with an earned run average of 1.27 in 21.1 innings of work.
The Bulldogs will look to start off strong in the series with Big Green, sending senior ace Brandon Josselyn to the mound for game one on Saturday. Josselyn pitched a complete game six-hitter at Harvard on Sunday to earn the Elis' lone win of the series. For the season, he is 4-2 with a 4.97 ERA. The senior right-hander is 2-0 in three Ivy League starts, striking out 20 batters in 20.1 innings and posting a 3.98 ERA.
Offensively, junior first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth has been the big bat in the Yale lineup. The 6'6 lefty has swatted six home runs and registered a team-hest 28 RBI, including 11 runs batted in with two outs. Larsson-Danforth has proven himself as more than a power hitter, however. He owns a batting average of .350, has stolen five bases and has committed just two errors in 195 chances at first base.
Sophomore Andy Megee, a third baseman and pitcher, leads the Bulldogs with a .368 average. He is also tops on the roster in hits (42), doubles (10), triples (3), extra-base hits (14), total bases (61) and stolen bases (9). Senior captain Stefan Schropp has driven in 18 runs, primarily from the lead-off spot in the batting order.
Dartmouth has risen to the top of the Rolfe Division thanks to a pair of dangerous sluggers, Nick Santomauro and Joe Sclafani. Santomauro is batting .396 with six home runs and 22 runs batted in. Sclafani, the reigning Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Week, is batting .355 with a team-best 24 runs batted in.
The Dartmouth pitching staff has been very dependable in 2009, with all four starters owning an ERA of 5.88 or lower. Ben Murray (4-1, 3.95 ERA) has been the star of the rotation, while closer Ryan Smith has piled up nine saves, along with a 1-0 record and a 3.74 ERA.
Yale will close out its non-league schedule with a 3:30 p.m. game at Hartford on Wednesday, before the Ivy League regular season concludes next weekend. Brown comes to Yale Field on Saturday, April 25 for a noon doubleheader, and the squads then head to Providence for another noon twin bill on Sunday, April 26.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity