Riding their first winning streak of the season, the Bulldogs will look to continue their recent success when they open their Ivy League home slate this weekend.
Yale (5–15, 2–2 Ivy) will play two games against Columbia (9–15, 2–2 Ivy) at Yale Field on Saturday before hosting Penn (16–9, 3–1 Ivy) for a doubleheader on Sunday. Pitcher Michael Coleman ’14 said that the Elis will attempt to continue last weekend’s impressive trend against Princeton and Cornell.
“We will look to limit walks and free bases while pitching to contact,” Coleman said. “We have faith in our fielders behind us to make the plays. We have also been focusing on limiting the running game by varying our rhythm on the mound and being quick to the plate to give our catchers a chance.”
While Columbia is batting a respectable .231 through 24 games this season, Penn’s bats have been on fire. The Quakers are second in the Ivies with a .289 batting average. The two teams are also tied for third in the Ancient Eight with eight home runs apiece.
Both Columbia and Penn create scoring opportunities with high on-base percentages. The two squads rank in the top half of the Ivy League in that category, with Penn (.364) in second and Columbia (.327) in fourth. Pitcher Chris Lanham ’16 said that the Elis will have to hold these base-runners close to give the Yale catchers a chance to throw out base-stealers.
“Both of our catchers have very strong throwing arms so the pitchers need to keep the runners close and be quick to the plate,” Lanham said. “If we do this, our catchers will shut down the opposing running game.”
Yale’s catchers will be tested by the speed of both the Lions and the Quakers. Penn ranks second behind Cornell (48 steals) in the Ancient Eight with 46 thefts, while Columbia sits just behind them with 31 stolen bases. Backstops Chris Piwinski ’13 and Robert Baldwin ’15 have combined to gun down 27 percent of would-be base-stealers on the season.
Yale’s work behind the plate has not been Yale’s only strength on defense lately. After committing 32 errors through their first 14 contests, Yale has had just four defensive miscues in the last six games. Lanham attributed the improvement to more attention to fielding in practice.
“I don’t think much has changed about the team’s defense, but as we’ve been getting more repetitions it’s been running more smoothly,” Lanham said. “We just need to make improvements on a day-to-day basis and focus on the process and the Ivy League games will take care of themselves.”
Yale’s offense has also come alive recently, scoring 24 runs during the three-game win streak. Centerfielder Green Campbell has led the way offensively, going seven for 12 at the plate during the streak. His .405 average is good for second place in the Ancient Eight.
First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.