The baseball team is hoping that there is no place like home as it tries to solve its recent woes.
Having played all but four of their first 25 contests away from the friendly confines of Yale Field, the Elis will begin an 11-game home stand this weekend. Princeton (9–11, 3–1 Ivy) will travel up the coast for a twinbill tomorrow. Cornell (17–6–1, 3–1 Ivy) will follow up by joining Yale for a doubleheader on Sunday.
“This weekend is huge for us,” captain and backstop Ryan Brenner ’12 said. “When we underperformed [last] weekend, so did the rest of our [division].”
Yale is a member of the Red Rolfe division — named for the Dartmouth graduate and former New York Yankees third baseman — which also includes Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown. All three of these teams have had trouble breaking into the win column. The three teams went a combined 4–8 in Ancient Eight ball last weekend. None of them has more than four Ivy wins this season.
The fact that the Tigers and the Big Red are in the other division — named for another former Yankee and Columbia first baseman Lou Gehrig — does not change the meaning of the games this weekend.
“The Ivy League season is so short,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said. “Every Ivy League game is important. We are trying to win every Ivy League game we can.”
While the Elis are hitting just .224 as a team, Hanson is the lone Bulldog whose hits are falling in. Hanson owns an average of .378, .111 higher than the next-best Eli.
Chris Piwinski ’13 and Brenner attributed part of Hanson’s success to his consistency in his approach at the plate.
Hanson said that the teams’ struggles are more important to him than his own success, though.
“I’m actually not having a good time because my teammates are having a rough go with it,” Hanson said. “I’m catching all the lucky breaks.”
This weekend would be a good time for the lucky breaks to start falling the Bulldogs’ way, as they will be playing host to two teams that can tear the cover off the ball. Princeton is hitting .285 with 16 home runs. Cornell’s average is even higher at .308 to complement 15 homers.
In addition to the Big Red offense, the Elis will have to deal with a Cornell pitching staff that setting the pace for the Ancient Eight with a 3.32 earned run average (ERA).
Despite the significance of the weekend, Piwinski suggested that the Elis should remain calm.
“It does no good to add more pressure,” Piwinski said. “Then you don’t play loose.”
First pitch tomorrow against Princeton and Sunday against Cornell is at noon.