BASEBALL: Elis strong over break

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Photo by Graham Harboe .

The weather in New Haven might indicate otherwise, but spring began four days ago. And that means that the Yale baseball team’s season is in full swing.

During the Bulldogs’ annual spring break schedule, Yale (7–9, 0–0 Ivy) won six of the 13 games it played, its best record during the vacation in three years. The break included a three-game series at Stetson in Florida and a four-game home-and-home series against Holy Cross this past weekend. Yale won two games against Stetson, but could only take one from the Crusaders.

“Coming back from Florida 5–5 was an awesome feeling,” captain Cale Hanson ’14 said. “I think it’s the first time we’ve come back without a losing record in my four years. But it would’ve been much better to have a better week this [past] week.”

With 16 games finished, Yale has now completed almost 40 percent of its schedule, despite playing only three of those games at Yale Field. But the team’s main focus, the Ivy League season, does not begin until this Saturday at Penn.

Though the team was nearly 0.500 over the two-week span, the pitching staff showed some inconsistency, as Yale allowed four or fewer runs in five games, but also allowed double digits in four.

Starting pitcher Chris Lanham ’16 said that he is not worried about the team’s pitching going forward.

“We have a lot of talent in our pitching staff,” Lanham said. “Everyone on the team has confidence in our pitchers. We hit a couple bumps in the road, but that shouldn’t be a problem going forward.”

Yale saw several promising performances from its new crop of freshmen throughout the break. Designated hitter Harrison White ’17 played in 10 of the team’s 13 games and finished the vacation boasting a four-game hitting streak.

White holds a team-high .423 batting average and .531 on-base percentage so far this season.

Starting pitcher Chasen Ford ’17, meanwhile, recorded two wins, his first victories as a Bulldog, against Bucknell and Holy Cross. Ford currently leads the team in innings pitched with 26.2, and his 4.39 ERA through five appearances is best among starters on the team.

“[Ford]’s been having some great outings,” Hanson said. “I’m just impressed with his poise. He’s not walking a lot of guys and he’s letting his defense do the work. That’s a big deal out of a freshman.”

Hanson also highlighted the performance of relief pitcher Chris Moates ’16, whose 3.14 ERA is best on the team overall.

Ford’s win over Bucknell two weeks ago came the day after a narrow Eli loss to Long Island University, a team that Yale had sought revenge against since falling to LIU by one run last year. This time, the Bulldogs held a 7–6 advantage into the ninth inning, but the Blackbirds got four runs off of Ford in the top of the inning and finished with a 10–7 win.

Yale’s response to the loss came in the form of a decisive 13–5 win against Bucknell. The next day, however, the Bulldogs took a step backwards with a 5–4 loss to Bowling Green, again dropping the game in the final innings.

The Bulldogs followed with a 3–1 win over Ave Maria University, with winning pitcher Michael Coleman ’14 allowing just three hits and one run in his 7.1 innings pitched.

The back-and-forth inconsistency continued in the Elis’ series at Stetson, as the teams took turns dominating each other both at the plate and on the mound. Yale finished with the advantage, however, with 10–2 and 15–4 victories, while Stetson won 11–1 in the middle game of the series.

“From an offensive standpoint, when my team’s way ahead, I feel way more relaxed at the plate, and I hit the ball a lot better,” Hanson said. “That sort of thing happened that entire weekend. One team got ahead early and then kept pouring it on.”

After the Stetson series, Yale headed back up north for the second week of the break. The Bulldogs beat UMass-Lowell in a 1–0 pitcher’s duel that Lanham, Ford and Moates pieced together for the shutout. Lanham picked up the win, his third of the season.

The Elis then fell to Hartford 8–6 before beginning their four-game home-and-home series against Holy Cross this past weekend.

Yale came out on top 4–3 in the first game, largely thanks to a three-RBI performance by first baseman Jacob Hunter ’14. Ford earned the win with six innings pitched.

The second game of that day, and the next two at Holy Cross, did not go as well for the Bulldogs, as they fell 10–3, 16–6 and 8–3.

“[Holy Cross] can definitely hit,” Hanson said. “I’m very confident in our pitching staff… but really you just have to tip your hat to [Holy Cross].”

Yale will continue its pre-Ivy season this Wednesday at Quinnipiac before beginning conference play at Penn this weekend.

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