The Yale baseball team will spend plenty of time in the sun over spring break despite not being on vacation, as they travel south to take on some of the best college baseball teams America has to offer.
Beginning this Friday, the Elis embark on an extensive road trip, mixed with two short home stints. Over the two-week vacation, the Bulldogs will play 15 games, including a critical game against Duke on March 10.
“Being successful on the spring trip for any Ivy League team is always a statement that northeastern teams can play, even being prohibited from practicing on a baseball field for months,” centerfielder Green Campbell ’15 said.
Such prohibition was evident this week, as a game against the University of New Haven, which was supposed to be the season and home opener for the Bulldogs, was canceled due to the heavy snow.
This delay made many players want to play even more. Several players interviewed said they are ready to see if the hard work they put in this winter will translate to a higher level of play.
“Of the 301 Division I college baseball teams, we are the last team to start,” catcher Robert Baldwin ’15 said. “The extra practice has allowed us to fine-tune our fundamentals, but has left us yearning for outside competition.”
The first opponent Yale will face this season is the University of Richmond Spiders (5–3), with the game being played at Davidson University this Saturday at noon. Later in the afternoon, the Bulldogs will face off against the true home team, the Davidson Wildcats (5–2).
The following day, Yale will go up against the Wildcats again.
After a day off on Monday to recover, regroup and re-evaluate, the Elis play in what many believe is the marquee matchup of the spring trip: a game again the Blue Devils of Duke (10–1).
“Duke is definitely a headliner name for the spring trip,” Campbell said.
The Blue Devils finished 33–24 last year, but were 22–10 at home. This year, they are off to a hot start, winning 10 of 11 games, including nine in row. Their sole loss was to California.
Regardless of the challenge they face, Yale is looking forward to the high level of competition.
“We are excited about [the Duke game] given that they are off to a great start and coming off a great season last year,” third baseman Richard Slenker ’17 said. “It has been the coldest winter on record in the state of Connecticut, and we have been outside for practice every day but one. We are ready to play.”
The game against Duke starts an endurance-testing stretch for the Bulldogs, as they will play six games in as many days.
Yale will travel from North Carolina to Maryland to take on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.Hawks (2–7) on March 11.
On Thursday, March 12, Yale will take on George Mason University (3–5), and on Friday they will take on the Towson Tigers (0–7).
The Bulldogs will then return to the northeast to take on the University of Rhode Island Saturday afternoon. They will play the Rams (1–5) again Sunday at the same time.
After what will probably be a much-needed day off on Monday, Yale will finally play their first game of the 2015 season at Yale Field when they go up against Hartford (3–3) on Tuesday, March 17.
On Thursday, March 19, the Bulldogs will travel to UMass-Lowell (2–2), and then return and play a pair of double-headers against Holy Cross (2–9) on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22. Saturday’s games will be at Yale Field, while Sunday’s will be in Worchester at Holy Cross.
Despite a long and hard winter offseason, it seems the Bulldogs are confident and eager to get the season underway.
“Our hitters seem locked in and ready to start swinging the bats, and our pitchers are challenging each other every day with awesome competition,” Campbell said. “I feel like we are all ready and itching to play against another color jersey.”
This streak of 15 games will be the first set of games for seven Bulldog freshmen.