Yale against Harvard does not normally need any more hype, but this weekend the Elis will be fighting for their baseball lives against the Crimson.
Yale (6–24–1, 0–8 Ivy) will host the Cantabs (6–23, 2–6 Ivy) for back-to-back doubleheaders at Yale Field on Saturday and Sunday.
“This is our season,” pitcher Chris O’Hare ’13 said. “To have any shot at all we need to win at least three games.”
Seven of Yale’s eight Ivy League losses have been decided by three runs or fewer. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, close doesn’t appear in the standings.
Despite the drought — the Elis have lost their past twelve games — Yale is still right in the hunt to make the postseason. Dartmouth (9–14. 4–4 Ivy) leads the Red Rolfe Division thus far, but Yale is within four games of the top spot and the berth in the three-game Ancient Eight championship series that determines which team will advance to the NCAA regionals.
“The funny thing is we’re still only four games out [of first place],” first baseman and closer Kevin Fortunato ’14 said. “By no means is anything over.”
The four games will be equally important to the Crimson, who have struggled almost as much as the Bulldogs this season. Despite losing six of their first eight games in conference play, the Cantabs sit just two games behind Dartmouth for the division lead.
For two teams finding it difficult to make it into the win column, taking the first game of the series could prove vital. Ending the losing streak would take the weight off the Blue and White’s shoulders, pitcher Eric Hsieh ’15 said.
“We just need to get that first win,” Hsieh said. “Start it off right.”
Fortunato added that taking the series is also a possibility, as Yale’s bats are starting to break out of their collective slump, while the Bulldog pitching staff has been throwing well all season.
Shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 has had no problem at the plate this year. Hanson owns a .359 average and a 29-game on-base streak this season.
Although he said there is rivalry amongst all schools in the Ancient Eight, Fortunato added that the Crimson are a special case.
“You come to Yale, and you know you hate Harvard,” Fortunato said.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Yale Field tomorrow. The follow-up doubleheader will occur at the same time Sunday.