The baseball team (10–8) will take a five-game winning streak into this weekend as they begin Ancient Eight play against Cornell (2–14) and Princeton (5–13).
Last year, the team had an 11–6–1 record before the Ivy League season began against Columbia. However, the team went 0–4 during that first Ivy weekend, and will hope for a better start this year.
“We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” captain and third baseman Andy Megee ’11 said. “It all starts with pitching and defense.”
Yale will face the Big Red in a doubleheader this Saturday. The Big Red have gotten off to a rough start this season, losing their first five games before finally defeating Saint Joseph’s University. Cornell only has two players with a .300 batting average or better: Mickey Brodsky and Marshall Yanzick. The team’s record has been suffering in part because its bullpen has a 6.20 ERA compared to its opponents’ 3.88 ERA.
The Bulldogs defeated Cornell both times last year, but those wins did not come easily. In both games last year, the team trailed the Big Red 2–0 but was able come back. In the first game, a walk-off home run by Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 secured the victory for the team 4–3 in extra innings. The second game was still close, but the Bulldogs won by a two run margin, 7–5.
The Bulldogs will travel to face Princeton on Sunday. The Tigers have yet to play a game at home and have had a poor start to the season as well with a 5–13 record. The team has had difficulty on offense with a .241 batting average. The highest average on the team is Alec Keller’s .302 hitting percentage. Similar to Cornell, the Tiger bullpen has struggled with a 6.69 ERA while its opponents have averaged a 3.83 ERA.
The Tigers and the Bulldogs were neck and neck in their two games last year. The teams split the doubleheader, with Yale losing the first game 7–8 and winning the second contest 6–5.
In the first game last year, the team lost a heartbreaker after overcoming a 0–7 deficit. However, a Tiger run ended Yale’s hope for a comeback win.
The Elis pulled off a successful comeback in the second game. Brook Hart ’11 was critical for securing the win for the Bulldogs in that game. Hart, after pitching for the entire first game, came back to throw the last two innings of the second game to close the contest against the Tigers, earning him his first career save.
“My mindset going into this week is to get geared up for the real thing,” Hart said. “Everything we have done up to this point means nothing if we don’t come out and execute what we’ve learned so far. I think the games prior have been good tune-ups to get the kinks out and knock the rust off. And now it’s go time.”
Hart has been critical for Yale’s success early this season. He has the second-lowest ERA on the team with 1.07 ERA through 25.1 innings. Freshman Cale Hanson ’14 has a 0.00 ERA through 5.1 innings.
The Bulldogs have had little batting problems in their games this season, scoring four or more runs in 13 out of their 18 games. The team has scored 14 or more runs in each of its last four games.
The Elis’ strong freshman class has been an important part of that strong offensive output. Hanson and Jacob Hunter ’14 have combined for 22 RBIs and are both batting over .300.
“It’s been pretty remarkable,” Megee said. “I hardly look at them as freshmen anymore. On and off the field they’ve fit in so well. We’ve gotten so much more from them than we thought we would.”
On Saturday, the Elis will travel to Cornell for its doubleheader slated for 12 p.m. The team will then go to Princeton for its doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. on Sunday.