BASEBALL | Elis look to heat up at the plate

Baseball is set to face Hartford this weekend. The Hawks have won only one of their last five games, and last year the Bulldogs swept the series against them.
Baseball is set to face Hartford this weekend. The Hawks have won only one of their last five games, and last year the Bulldogs swept the series against them. Photo by YDN.

The Bulldogs have won just once in five games since returning from their road trip to Florida over spring break, but they will look to right the ship when they face the Hartford University Hawks this weekend.

The Elis (4-11-1, 0-0 Ivy) will host the Hawks (2-14, 0-0 American East) in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. today at Yale Field and then travel to Hartford for a twin bill on Saturday.

Since scoring nine runs in a 9-3 victory over Lafayette in Florida on March 13, Yale has managed just three runs in four games against Stony Brook and an 8-0 loss to the University of Connecticut on Wednesday.

“No matter how hard you are working, sometimes you go through slumps,” outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 said.

The Elis are hitting .225 on the year, but have a .155 average (22-142) as a team since returning to Connecticut.

Yale has also been too aggressive at the plate, striking out 34 times while taking just nine walks over the five-game stretch.

“From a personal standpoint I haven’t been patient at the plate,” first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 said. “I’ve been swinging at pitcher’s pitches.”

While the bats have been slumping, Neil and Fortunato said they have faith in the pitching staff.

Although the Bulldog staff has a combined 6.94 ERA, the Yale hurlers have had several impressive showings on the mound.

Most notably, the Elis held Stony Brook to just two runs in the doubleheader at Yale Field March 17. In the first game, righthander Pat Ludwig ’12 threw 8.2 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, but Yale fell 2-1 in 11 innings. Southpaw Rob Cerfolio ’14 matched Ludwig’s performance in the finale by tossing five shutout innings as the Bulldogs went on to beat the Seawolves 1-0 in seven innings.

The matchup with the Hawks could prove to be an opportune one for Yale, as Hartford has won just one of its last nine games.

The Hawks’ hurlers have a lofty 7.21 ERA and opposing batters are hitting .308 against them. Regardless of their opponent, players said that the best way to break out of the slump is to keep working.

“[We] just have to keep grinding and keep improving,” designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 said in a message to the News.

Yale and Hartford met four times on the diamond last year, with Yale sweeping the series by a combined score of 50-15.

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