For the past two weeks, the Yale baseball team (6–4, 0–0 Ivy) has been a menace on the diamond. After asserting its prowess behind the plate and on the mound in monumental victories against LIU and Fordham, as well as earning a gritty comeback win against Marist, the Elis now look to fuel their fiery four-game winning streak and continue producing phenomenal performances. 

The Bulldogs’ victorious stretch began on Sunday, March 6 with a 1–0 shutout win against Washington, a rising force in the talented Pac-12 conference. A few days later, on Thursday, the Elis had a triumphant home opener with a commanding 9–6 win over Long Island University (8–7, 0–0 NEC). The top of the Yale line-up was especially formidable against the Sharks, an opponent they had never faced before. The next day, the Blue and White traveled down to New York and conquered their battle in the Bronx against Fordham (2–11, 0–0 Atlantic-10), pummeling the Rams in a dominant 11–2 victory. Most recently, on Tuesday, March 15, Yale further extended its winning streak with an impressive 4–3 comeback victory at home against the Marist (6–6, 0–0 MAAC) Foxes.

“We are really starting to put the pieces together overall,” third baseman Carson Swank ’23 said. “Coming off of Auburn and Washington … Those are the two series that kind of led us to the performance [we have had]. The offense really started to come together [against LIU and Fordham] and really showed what we can do [all throughout] the lineup. As per usual, the pitchers were really good as well. The two games last week piggybacked off of what we already knew — [that] we’re going to be a really good team throughout the season.”

Yale began play last week with match-ups against LIU and Fordham, which were originally scheduled to take place during the weekend in New York but were moved to Thursday and Friday respectively due to projected inclement weather. This was an exciting turn of events for the Bulldogs, as it provided them with the opportunity to open at home earlier than expected. 

The Bulldogs’ game against LIU was the first official game in the newly-renamed Bush Field. Before the face-off against the Sharks, it had been more than a thousand days since the Yale baseball team had been able to play an official game in the familiar confines of its home field. The game would also allow many members of Yale’s young roster, which has six first-years and 10 sophomores, to play an official game at home for the first time.

On Thursday, the same day that marked the end of the second longest lockout in Major League Baseball history, the Sharks struck early against Yale starter Grant Kipp ’22. LIU was able to get on the scoreboard first after multiple hits from the top of its formation in the first inning. Junior clean-up hitter Carlton Harper started LIU’s brief offensive spurt with a two-RBI triple, and was supported by a single from graduate student catcher Colin Adams that brought in an additional run. 

However, the Bulldogs were quick to retaliate. With two runners in scoring position, four-hole and outfielder Jimmy Chatfield ’24 cleaned up the bases with a critical three-RBI moonshot in the bottom of the first inning that tied the game. This was Yale’s first homerun of the season. 

“I remember it was a 2–0 count,” Chatfield said about going yard. “I'[d] been working with our hitting coach, Coach Dickson, a lot about not trying to do too much when I get in good counts. I got a good pitch to hit and feel like I put a pretty good swing on it. I’m just happy that I was able to tie the game up. I remember us being down, so it felt good to get back in the game early. It was a good moment.”

Chatfield was a key player in the win against LIU, going 2–4 and shining with a monstrous five-RBI performance. The top of the formation was also outstanding in the match-up against the Sharks. Lead-off hitter and captain Mason LaPlante ’22, two-hole Ben Metzner ’23 and three-hole Alec Atkinson ’24 all went 2–4 as well, and contributed eight of the team’s nine total runs. 

Though the line-up would drive in six more runs in the third and fourth innings, the offense cooled off afterwards and was unable to score at all. The Sharks scored three more runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but Yale’s winning lead was preserved with solid outings from Kipp and southpaw pitcher Reid Easterly ’24, who earned his first save of the season. 

The next day, the Blue and White took Thursday’s momentum with them to New York as they sought revenge against the Fordham Rams. Although the Bulldogs had never played against the Sharks before, Yale had faced off against Fordham multiple times in the past. The last time these two teams squared off was in a home game in April 2018, where the Elis were narrowly defeated 4–5. This time, the Bulldogs made it a point to show how much they’d grown in the last few years. 

The star of the match-up was right-handed starter Michael Walsh ’23, who was sensational on the mound. The pitcher from Illinois threw an absolute gem on Friday, striking out nine batters over six innings and allowing only one hit in his entire outing. 

“It feels great,” Walsh said to the News about earning his first win of the season. “We put in a lot of work this offseason and really, the last two years. We’ve all been working really hard to improve upon our game and it felt great to be able to go out there and contribute. The defense behind me, my catcher and all the hitters [also] all did their part and played great, which made it really easy on me. It’s a team effort. I’m happy we got the win and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

Though Walsh had an outstanding individual performance, the entire team put up a show as they pummeled the Rams. Yale completely dominated the game from the start in terms of both hitting and pitching, leaving Fordham with no room to breathe. This was Yale’s first win of the season in which they scored in the double digits. The Bulldogs’ line-up scored 11 runs and had four players with multiple-RBI performances. One of these was six-hole Swank, who hit Yale’s second home run of the season in the top of the second inning.

The game against Marist was less dominant but no less impressive. The Bulldogs had a gritty 4–3 comeback win at home against the Foxes on Tuesday, March 15. Though Yale had a promising start, scoring one run in the first inning, the Bulldog bats were lethargic in the next five innings, where they could not score. By contrast, the Foxes were able to gain a lead by scoring two runs in the second inning and extending their lead with a run in the fourth.

However, the Blue and White rallied in the seventh inning. After an impressive at-bat from catcher Jake Gehri ’22, where he managed to hit a single after battling with the Marist starter for 12 pitches, the Bulldogs began to connect offensively. Following a two-RBI single by infielder Tommy Martin ’25 to tie the game, infielder AJ Gaich ’23 came up clutch as a pinch hitter with an RBI single that brought Martin home and put the go-ahead run on the board. The bullpen was then able to cleanly maintain the Bulldogs’ lead for the rest of the game.

“The special thing about this team and this offense is that we’re always one hit away,” Gaich said to the News. “Once we got that first hit [from Gehri], it kind of open[ed] the dam for the entire team … We’re going to get all energetic in the dugout and then it could snowball into three runs really quickly.” 

As the rest of the Yale community disperses for spring break, the Bulldogs will now turn their attention to their upcoming match-ups. This weekend, the Blue and White will look to bring the heat to the West Coast as they face off against California Baptist University (11–4, 0–0 WAC) in a three-game away series. 

The match-up against the CBU will look to be a thrilling one, as the Lancers are also heading into the match-up with momentum after dominating Utah Valley and UNLV in 17–1 and 10–7 wins, respectively. However, the Bulldogs will be difficult opponents, and the squad is sure to show off their growth and skills in the series. It will also be a valuable opportunity for the nine Californians from Yale’s roster to return to and shine in their home state.

“Personally, going back to California … it’s going to be exciting to play in front of people I grew up with, my grandma and a lot of other people,” Chatfield, who is from San Diego, said. “I’m going to have some friends and family there. From a team perspective, I just think it’s another opportunity to get ready for Ivy season because after CBU we roll into Princeton, and it’s a pretty grueling stretch.”

After the series against the CBU, the Bulldogs will play a home game against Quinnipiac (4–8, 0–0 MAAC) before kicking off Ivy League conference play with a two-game series against the Tigers (0–11, 0–0 Ivy). Though Princeton has yet to win a game this season, the Tigers have been playing many strong teams recently, such as No. 23 Mississippi State.

The last time the Bulldogs faced off against their Ancient Eight rival was two years ago on May 11, 2019. The Bulldogs were dominant in the Saturday doubleheader sweep, winning the first game 3–4 and crushing their opponents in the second game 10–1. Heading into this game, the Bulldogs will look to further extend their winning streak and replicate their past dominance to tame the Tigers.

“We’re thoroughly enjoying just spending time around each other,” Walsh said about the team’s current condition. “We’ve got a great team and a great locker room. All of us just love to play baseball. So when we’re out there, competing on game days, it’s really not a super stressful environment at all. It’s very relaxed, competitive, upbeat and happy. We’re just trying to go out there and put ourselves in the best position, both mentally and physically, to have success.”

The first game of the series against CBU will begin on Friday, March 18 at 6 p.m. PT in the Lancers’ James W. Totman Stadium.

Wei-Ting Shih covers baseball, volleyball and women's basketball as a staff reporter. Originally from Taiwan and Nicaragua, she is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College double-majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics and History.