BASEBALL | Bats show signs of life

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Photo by YDN.

The Elis dusted off their bats and appeared to find their stroke on Friday, but the Bulldog batsmen ended up on the wrong side of history on Saturday.

Yale (6–13–1, 0–0 Ivy) split a home doubleheader with Hartford University (4–16, 0–0 American East), winning the second game 8–5 in nine innings after dropping the opener 7–5 in a seven-inning game. In Hartford, however, the Bulldogs went quiet at the plate, managing only four hits as they won the first game 4–1 in eight innings. Their bats went quieter still in the afternoon’s second game, as they were no-hit and fell 2–0 in seven innings.

Hawks’ freshman lefthander Sean Newcomb struck out 10 Elis to keep Yale hitless in the nightcap on Saturday. It was his first collegiate victory as well as the first no-hitter in the history of Hartford’s Division I baseball program, according to the Hartford athletic department.

“Hitting is tough. [It] comes and goes,” catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 said. “[Newcomb] was good … His defense made some terrific plays behind him.”

Newcomb’s performance overshadowed another solid outing from Yale’s starter Rob Cerfolio ’12. Cerfolio tossed six innings of two-run ball, striking out six as he took the tough-luck loss to fall to 0–2 on the season.

Despite the relapse on Saturday, the Elis are taking the offensive surge at Yale Field as a sign of things to come, rather than as an anomaly.

“A lot of guys are hitting the ball well,” pitcher Nolan Becker ’13 said. “The stats just aren’t showing it … Hopefully we saved the hits for the Ivy League season when it really matters.”

Shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 continued his hot hitting, going 5–6 on Friday with two doubles and three runs scored to lead the attack.

The rest of the Elis joined him in the offensive surge that produced 15 runs over the two games. The Bulldogs hit .362 (21–58) on Friday after producing a meager .155 (22–142) average over their previous five contests.

The victory not only snapped a four-game losing streak for the Elis, but it was also the first victory of Becker’s career. He threw five innings and struck out five Hawks. Becker was sidelined by Tommy John surgery on his left arm his freshman year and then limited to just three innings pitched in his sophomore season. This year Becker has finally been able to contribute regularly as a member of the pitching staff, starting four games and second on the team with 22.2 innings pitched.

Becker’s emergence has been combined with strong starts from the rest of the Bulldog hurlers, Brenner said. Pitcher Chris O’Hare ’13 added that performing on the mound will be essential to Yale when it starts Ancient Eight play next weekend.

“The key to winning the Ivy League is pitching and good defense,” O’Hare said in a message to the News. “I know our hitters are going to do enough for us to win when our real season starts next weekend.”

The Elis open the Ivy League portion of the season by traveling to Columbia for a doubleheader on Saturday, March 31, followed by another two games at Penn on Saturday, April 1.

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