BASEBALL | Surging Bulldogs begin Ivy League play

Gant Elmore ’11 slides back to 2nd base during Yale’s doubleheader against the New York Insitute of Technology on Mar. 27. Yale lost the first game 3–2 before winning 4–0.
Gant Elmore ’11 slides back to 2nd base during Yale’s doubleheader against the New York Insitute of Technology on Mar. 27. Yale lost the first game 3–2 before winning 4–0. Photo by R.J. Rico.

In non-conference play, the baseball team has proven to be a formidable foe. This weekend it will get to see how it stacks up against fellow Ivy League teams.

The Bulldogs (11–6–1) begin Ivy League play this weekend with doubleheaders at Columbia (7–11) and at Penn (9–9) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

“We know these teams pretty well, so it should be a good measuring stick for us,” third baseman Andy Magee ’11 said.

Yale currently is on a two-game winning streak after taking the final two of a three-game set at the New York Institute of Technology last weekend. In the second of those wins, on Sunday, the Elis rebounded from a 10–1 deficit to emerge with a 13–10 victory. Four Bulldogs combined for a total of seven home runs, including three from catcher Ryan Brenner ’12.

Magee said the team’s recent hitting improvements can be attributed to experience, as well as a new indoor hitting facility next to Yale Field, which the members of the team call “The Kennel.”

“It has really allowed us to get a lot more experience facing live pitchers,” he said. “Even if it was snowing outside, we get still get in a lot of hitting practice.”

The Lions swept the Bulldogs at home last season, winning 13–9 and 8–6, despite the fact that Columbia had been 4–19 entering last year’s series.

First baseman Alexander Aurrichio leads the Lions with a .389 average, five home runs and 18 runs batted in. Overall, Columbia is batting .282, fourth in the Ivy League.

While the Lions have a better record than they did last year, the Elis’ turnaround has been more radical. Despite finishing last year with a team average of .281, the Bulldogs now lead the Ivy League with a .327 average.

Pitching has improved as well: Yale’s ERA has dropped from last year’s mark of 6.82 to 5.30 — second best in the Ivies.

The same cannot be said for the Lions, however, whose pitching staff has struggled so far this season, allowing Columbia’s opponents a .333 average

The Penn pitchers may prove to be a tougher task for the Yale lineup. Like the Elis, Penn has two starters with ERAs under three: Vince Voiro and Chris McNulty .

At the plate, Quaker infielder Dan Williams leads his squad with a .397 average and a .476 on-base percentage.

Pitchers Brook Hart ’11 and Vinny Lally ’11 are scheduled to start on Saturday for the Bulldogs. On Sunday the Elis will look to Pat Ludwig ’12 and Christopher O’Hare ’13 on the mound.

Ludwig leads the team with 27 strikeouts and is coming off a two-hit, seven-inning shutout over NYIT on Saturday.

Last season the Elis were 2–0 against Penn, winning two close contests at home, 7–6 and 7–4.

Because Yale is in the Rolfe Division, while the Lions and Quakers are in the Gehrig Division, this weekend will be the only time the teams meet this season.

Saturday’s games against the Lions are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The Bulldogs then travel to Philadelphia to take on the Quakers on Sunday at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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