The Yale baseball team traveled to Florida over spring break, going 2-5 in Bradenton before returning home where they dropped three straight games. Sunday, the Elis traveled to Pace University and split a two game series, winning 11-10 and losing 4-3.

Despite the sobering record, head coach John Stuper said that his team still looked impressive, especially on defense.

“Our record is 3-9 but we’re really playing well,” he said. “I know that sounds ridiculous, but we’re playing outstanding defense, our pitching is good, and our hitting is coming around. We just have to start getting the big hits.”

Captain Craig Breslow ’02 echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“I would definitely agree with that,” he said. “We did a lot of good things, but unfortunately we didn’t win as many games as we’d like.”

The Elis (3-9) showed a lot of mettle on Sunday after finding themselves in a 6-0 hole after two rocky innings. A single by shortstop Mike Hirschfield ’03 drove in Chris Elkins ’03 to put the Elis on the board in the third inning, and the Bulldogs, led by second baseman Steven Duke’s ’03 4 RBIs and Darren Beasley’s ’03 three, scored 10 more runs while clamping down on defense.

“It was nice to battle back and come out with a win,” Stuper said. “The guys never stopped or quit. It was nice to do that to someone else instead of having it done to us.”

Pitcher Doug Shimokawa ’04 picked up the win for the Bulldogs.

Later that day, the Elis weren’t as fortunate. After falling behind 2-0, Yale managed to tie the game with a homer by first baseman Justin Walters ’03, followed by Mike Gulker’s ’05 RBI single.

With the score 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Pace loaded the bases and Marc Deluca drove home the game-winning single.

Pitcher Doug Feller ’02 struck out five in the loss.

Yale’s 5-3 victories over Bucknell and Wright State were the highlights of the team’s visit to the Sunshine State.

Throughout the Florida trip, the Bulldogs were hampered by an inability to finish off opponents. The Elis entered the eighth inning with a lead in three of the five losses that they suffered in Florida, including a 9-3 lead at the start of the ninth inning against Boston College that quickly evaporated when the Eagles notched 7 runs in the bottom of the ninth to steal the game.

“If we were playing seven inning games, we would have been 9-3,” Stuper said.

In Yale’s first game in Florida, the Bulldogs gave up a 2-1 eighth inning lead to Indiana University and ultimately lost 7-2. Against Northern Illinois, a 3-1 eighth inning lead became a 5-3 loss, and Marist came back from being down 4-1 in the ninth inning to defeat Yale 5-4.

“We just have to find a way to close things out,” Stuper said. “That can be the pitcher, but that can also be something like instead of hitting a sacrifice fly early in the fourth inning, hitting a double, so that instead of being up 3-2 you might be up 8-2.”

Some promising signs for the Bulldogs are their strengths in both defense and hitting.

“The defense has been playing really well,” Breslow said. “It seems like we’ve been pretty consistent making the plays. We’ve been well prepared after working hard in the offseason.”

Duke and Walters have been a large part of the team’s successful infield, which has turned numerous double plays thus far this season.

“The defense has been playing really well,” Breslow said. “It seems like we’ve been pretty consistent making the plays. We’ve been well prepared after working hard in the offseason.”

Breslow and fellow senior lefthander Matt McCarthy ’02 have been impressive on the mound. Breslow has struck out 17 and has an ERA of 1.23, while McCarthy has fanned 11 batters and has a 1.88 ERA.

On the offensive side, Elkins is pacing the team, batting an even .400 after a quick start, and Duke, who has been on a recent tear, is not far behind with his .326 average.

The Elis will face Wagner today at Yale Field at 3 p.m. and hope to increase offensive output, especially late in the game.

“When you pitch well and play good defense you can stay in almost any game,” Stuper said. “We just need to start to close those games out.”