Last year, the Yale baseball team won three of four against Harvard, despite struggling to an 0-8 record heading into that big weekend.
Coming off a disappointing 0-4 Ivy League homestand last weekend, this year’s squad (7-14, 2-6 Ivy) is hoping to continue that tradition of success against the Cantabs (7-17, 4-4) as well as move to .500 in the Red Rolfe Division. And the Elis already took a first step toward rebounding yesterday beating visiting Iona 7-0.
“For us to play well against Harvard again would be great for us right now,” said Chris Elkins ’03, who scored three runs yesterday.
Things went from bad to worse for Yale last weekend, as two heartbreaking 3-2 losses to Columbia gave way to a double pounding at the hands of the University of Pennsylvania, 10-0 and 16-2. In Sunday’s first game, Quaker pitcher Andrew McCreery held the Bulldogs hitless.
“We just didn’t get any breaks the past [four] games,” captain R. D. DeSantis ’01 said.
A combination of quiet bats and poor fielding has caused the Bulldogs to drop their last six straight.
While this has at least temporarily sidelined the Elis’ hopes of a division crown, things in the extremely even Ivy League can change quickly. The Bulldogs are hoping that some success in this weekend’s big rivalry will be just the spark that thrusts them back into contention.
In a tight Ivy talent pool, Yale and Harvard match up extremely well. Both teams have a proven corps of starting pitchers but are short on trusted relievers. Also, both teams have also struggled at the plate at times this year.
But the Bulldogs, with yesterday’s decisive win over Iona, hope that they can bust out of this characterization.
Doug Feller ’02 and Mike Boardman ’03 combined to allow only four hits by the Gaels — who failed to score a single run.
The Elis came alive at the plate during two scoring flurries in the first and fourth innings. Darren Beasley ’03 led the campaign at the plate with two RBIs.
Feller, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, and Boardman, who has allowed no runs on only three hits in his last two appearances, are two of the hurlers that Yale must be able to count on this weekend. DeSantis thinks that they have proven themselves reliable.
“Boardman has the best pickoff move I’ve seen in the Ivies — he shuts down a team’s running game,” DeSantis said. “He’ll be someone in the mix now, when before this weekend, we probably wouldn’t have gone to him in a clutch situation.”
Craig Breslow ’02 and Jon Steitz ’02 are scheduled to start against Harvard Friday. Steitz, who made this week’s Ivy League Honor Roll after pitching 10 innings and striking out 13 against Columbia, leads the team with a 2.41 ERA and 60 strikeouts. Matt McCarthy ’02 will start Saturday’s first game. Yale’s choice of a starter for the final game of the series is on hold until Saturday, and will depend on how the first three games play out and whose arm is fresh.
DeSantis is still nursing a sore hamstring, which kept him out of last Sunday’s final game against Pennsylvania. He was in the lineup yesterday but his progress has been slower than expected. He hopes to be 100 percent by the weekend’s games.
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