Bulldogs Set For Nine-Game Trip To Florida

Alex Lucas (Rocco Labbadia photo)
Alex Lucas (Rocco Labbadia photo)

Yale To Face Stiff Competition Starting Tuesday Against Central Michigan

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale softball team has embarked on its spring trip to Florida. The Bulldogs will play nine games during their stay, starting on Tuesday against Central Michigan at the University of South Florida. Five of the games are this weekend in Clearwater. The Bulldogs also will make a trip to Orlando, facing Florida Atlantic and Central Florida on Wednesday.

Here is what to watch for during Yale's stay in the Sunshine State:

Finding A Rhythm: The Bulldogs (1-2) played three games at Norfolk State's Tournament two weeks ago, but still have had little time outside thanks to the unusually cold and snowy weather in Connecticut. The forecast looks nice in Florida so Yale should be able to get in quite a bit of work. Hopefully by the time the team returns, the conditions in New Haven will have turned more spring like.

Big Bats: The first three games showed that Yale has the potential to be a potent offensive team. The Bulldogs hit .306 and scored 12 runs at the Norfolk Tournament. Freshman Camille Weisenbach led the way with a .500 average (4-of-8). Tori Balta, Brittany Labbadia and Hannah Brennan also had strong tournaments. Balta hit .417 with three doubles and two RBI, Labbadia was 3-for-7 (.429) and stole two bases, while Brennan hit .400 and knocked in a pair of runs.

Setting The Table: Balta and Labbadia, who hit one-two in Yale's order in the three games in Norfolk, did an outstanding job getting on base. In addition to her three hits, Labbadia also was hit by a pitch three times and has a .545 on base percentage in three games.

Pitching Depth: Yale's pitching depth was on display in the first three games as five pitchers saw time in the circle. Freshman Lindsay Efflandt tossed 3.2 scoreless innings, while Kristen Leung was very successful in her first start of the season. She allowed just one earned run in the win over Fairleigh Dickinson.

Big Stage: During the trip, the Bulldogs will get to play in a couple of outstanding facilities. On Tuesday, Yale faces Central Michigan and South Florida at the state-of-the-art USF Softball Stadium, which includes step-down team dugouts, bullpens, covered batting cages, multiple party pavilions, a press box and a 1,500 seat spectator grandstand with a shade canopy, an elevated, shaded hospitality deck and service amenities. The next day, the Bulldogs will play Florida Atlantic and Central Florida at the Central Florida Softball Complex, also a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2006 and is adorned with picturesque Florida palm trees located just behind the outfield fence.

Scouting The Opponents (Records as of Monday morning)

Central Michigan (Tues., 2:30 p.m. at USF; Sun., 9 a.m. in Clearwater): The Chippewas (12-6) have already played 18 games. CMU has outhomered its opponents 17-9 and has 32 stolen bases.

South Florida (Tues., 7:15 p.m, at USF): USF (18-7) has a .317 team batting average. South Florida's opponents are batting just .170. The Bulls have outhomered their opponents 19-5.

Florida Atlantic (Wed., 1 p.m. at Central Florida): Owls have a 17-11 overall record and a 2.21 team earned run average.

Central Florida (Wed., 6 p.m. at Central Florida): The Knights (16-7) began the week with a seven-game winning streak. UCF pitchers have 204 strikeouts in 157.2 innings.

Green Bay (Fri., 9:30 a.m., in Clearwater): Like Yale, Phoenix (3-1) has played only four games.

Butler (Fri.,11:45 a.m., in Clearwater): Battle of the Bulldogs. Butler (4-12) is in its first year in the Big East. Bulldogs won 22 games last year.

Seton Hall (Sat., 9:30 a.m. in Clearwater): Another Big East opponent. Pirates (4-16) were picked sixth in the Big East preseason coaches poll.

Penn State (Sat., 11:45 a.m. in Clearwater): The Nittany Lions (5-11) have 13 freshmen and sophomores on their roster.

Following The Games

There will be live stats for the two games at South Florida on Tuesday and the two games at Central Florida on Wednesday. In addition, pay-per-view video is available for the game with Central Florida on Wednesday. The games in Clearwater are unlikely to have live stats. Check back to yalebulldogs.com for updates. 

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity