Yale Athletics

By Ava Jenkins

Yale men’s baseball (13–19, 7–8 Ivy) competed in seven away games over the last week. This included a three-game series against Columbia University (19–14, 12–3 Ivy) last weekend, a midweek game against Fairfield University (20–19, 10–2 MAAC) and a weekend series against Cornell University (13–14, 10–5 Ivy). 

The results were a mixed bag for the Bulldogs who ended the away stretch 4–3, but the team saw stellar performances from multiple players and showed key signs of overall improvement towards the end of the regular season. 

Traveling to New York, the Elis faced the Columbia Lions in three tightly contested games, winning the series 2–1 for the first time since 2017. The first game of the Saturday doubleheader boasted an impressive comeback for the Bulldogs, guided by strong showings from both Ivy Co-Player of the Week Alec Atkinson ’25 and Davis Hanson ’26. The Lions maintained an 8–0 lead through the seventh inning before the Bulldogs struck back. Hanson ignited the momentum with his fifth home run of the season, also sending Jeff Pierantoni ’25 home. This cut Columbia’s lead to 8–2 after the eighth inning. In the top half of the ninth inning, the Bulldogs exploded for eight runs, with hits from eight different players. 

The team took advantage of several sloppy plays from the Lions, including a run from Max Imhoff ’25 on a passed ball, Chace Chaplin’s ’27 run on a fielding error and a thrilling play from Colin Sloan ’27, who stole home. 

“Last year as a freshman I saw a much higher percentage of fastballs but this year I’m seeing much more offspeed,” Hanson wrote to the News when asked about his approach at the plate this season. “So, I’ve had to be much more selective at the pitches I’m swinging at and focus on being more patient at the plate.” 

In the second game of the day, the chips fell less favorably for Yale, with the Lions defeating them 10–3. Colton Shaw ’25 started on the mound for the Bulldogs, striking out 11 batters over six innings. Yale’s team scored three runs through the sixth but went scoreless to the end. Despite the less-than-favorable result, Atkinson continued to shine, stealing his 15th base of the season.

In the final game on Sunday, the Bulldogs excelled offensively. Columbia put a run on the board first, but not without an answer from the Bulldogs in the third inning. Imhoff tied the game with a solo home run before Yale put up four more to take the lead on a two-RBI single from Tommy Martin ’25, who has consistently been hitting well this season, and a double from Kaiden Dossa ’27 tacking on two more runs, giving Yale a 5–1 lead. Columbia answered with a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the lead to 5–4. In the fifth, Dossa reached on a fielder’s choice to add a run for the team from New Haven. 

The Bulldogs lost the lead in the fifth on a three-run shot from the Lions, trailing for the first time since the bottom of the first. In the sixth, the back and forth continued, with Yale reclaiming the lead with a dominant five runs in the inning. Jake Williams ’25 reached on a fielder’s choice, sending Pierantoni home before a triple down the left field line from Atkinson sent both Williams and Hanson across home plate. Garret Larsen ’27 sent a double down the same line, sending Dossa and Atkinson home and reinstating the Bulldog’s lead to a commanding 11–7.

The Lions attempted to fight back in the home half of the sixth, scoring two, but the Bulldogs tacked on another run from Hanson in the seventh due to an error from the home team. Yale punched through an insurance run by Pierantoni in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch, and Columbia could not come back, cementing the 13–10 win for the Elis. 

“Challenging ourselves in the practice environment and staying true to who we are as players have been two of the biggest factors in our team being able to punch back under pressure,” Pierantoni wrote. 

The wins were crucial to the Bulldogs, and the offense did not slow down when playing a non-conference game against Fairfield on Wednesday.

In their midweek matchup against the Fairfield Stags, Yale delivered an electric offensive performance to secure a 12–3 victory. It was their first win against Fairfield since 2018. 

Chaplin started on the mound for the Bulldogs, but it was Carter Kessinger ’24 who took the win, pitching three innings and allowing two hits. After taking a 4–0 lead in the second inning, the Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas. The runs came off a bunt from junior Hayden Sobecki ’25, who advanced to second after an error from the defense, sending Dossa across the plate. Hits from Pierantoni, Chaplin and Atkinson sent Robert Ciulla ’25, Sobecki and Chaplin home respectively.

Fairfield tallied two runs in the bottom of the third, but Yale answered commandingly in the fourth, breaking the game open with five runs. The inning featured a series of successful bunts by the Bulldogs, with all five runs resulting from these plays. Five Yalies scored, bringing the score to 9–2. The Bulldogs continued to roll on Fairfield, racking up three more runs through the end of the game, off of Hanson’s sixth homer of the year, and a single from Dossa which sent Martin and Atkinson home. 

When asked about the bunt plays in the game and his own run from Martin’s bunt, Hanson said, “We’ve spent a lot of time this year practicing little things like base running tears and bunting and that has made us very successful translating to the games. We got the sign, and as soon as I saw the ball going into the ground I took off.” The win was a high point before Yale faced off against second-ranked in the Ivy League Cornell over the weekend.

To end the seven-game week, Yale’s team traveled to Ithaca to face Cornell in a three-game series. The first game featured a strong comeback from the Big Red, who forced the game into extra innings despite an early lead from the Bulldogs. Senior captain Reid Easterly ’24 pitched a stunning game, throwing seven shutout innings, before being relieved by sophomore Tate Evans ’26. Yale took the lead off of RBI singles from Dossa and Larsen in the second, before a homer from Martin increased the lead to 4–0 in the fourth, with Ciulla driving in another run to increase the lead to 5–0 to start the fifth. Atkinson doubled home a pair of runs and took advantage of a Cornell error to pad their lead. The game turned sour for the Bulldogs in the eighth, with Cornell tallying seven runs to close the gap to one run. The Big Red tacked on another run in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings. The Bulldogs responded in the top of the 10th with a sacrifice hit from Pierantoni that sent Ciulla home, but fell to the home team after they responded with two runs in the home half of the inning, losing 9–10.

The second game of the doubleheader was another hard game for Yale. While they were first to score, off of a double RBI from Atkinson, the Bulldogs remained scoreless for the rest of the game. Shaw started on the bump and pitched seven innings with seven strikeouts before being relieved by Josh Richardson ’24. The Big Red put up eight runs over six innings with two home runs, ending the game with an 8–2 loss for Yale. 

The series resumed on Sunday, with Williams leading the team to a 6–3 road victory. Sophomore Daniel Cohen ’26 began on the mound for Yale, and when asked how he approaches games during a hard series, said, “I try to keep my mindset as simple as possible. Trust in my pitches and the work I have put in as well as trust in my guys behind me. Don’t worry about anything out of my control and just attack each hitter with a purpose.” 

His focus paid off, pitching 7.1 innings, striking out eight, and picking up the win. The Bulldogs scored first, off a bunt from Larsen, which sent Dossa home before Cornell tied the score in the bottom of the same inning. Williams came alive in the third, taking a breaking ball the other way for a single, allowing Pierantoni to score. He came through once again in the fifth, sending Pierantoni across the plate for a second time. The Bulldogs led by two after the fifth. In the seventh, the Bulldogs added three runs, with William’s third RBI on a sacrifice fly. Hanson drew a walk with bases loaded to tack on another run. Relief pitcher Evans ended the game with two strikeouts in the home half of the ninth to end the game with a 6-3 victory over Cornell.

Despite losing the series to Cornell, Yale has recently been much more explosive on offense. Over the first 19 games, the Bulldogs only scored 60 runs, but they have since turned things around, crossing the plate 99 times in the last 10 games. 

“As the season has progressed, our hitters have grown in that they not only have more experience and failure to learn from, but guys are starting to have a better understanding of who they are as players,”  Pierantoni wrote. “Emphasizing the importance of not trying to do too much at the plate and relishing the genuine fun we have when playing together has allowed us to take pressure off of ourselves, allowing our offense to reset, then rise to the occasion whenever we meet a new challenge.”  

Easterly mirrors this sentiment. The pitcher has consistently played well, helping to allow the recent offensive hot streak to count for more. 

“Offensively, guys have really done a good job just sticking to their approach,” the captain said. “Again, when we got off to the tough start as a team, each guy just kept working and trusted that we would come out of the slump better for it. Now, everyone on the team has confidence that every guy in the lineup, one through nine, is going to come through at the plate and get whatever job needs to be done.” 

This jump in confidence is crucial for the Bulldogs at this point in the season, with the Sunday win improving their standings to 13–19 overall and keeping them firmly in the hunt for a conference tournament appearance. 

Currently tied for fourth with Penn in the Ivy standings, the Bulldogs will face Stonehill College (11–21, 7–11 NEC)  at home on Tuesday, before continuing Ivy play against Brown (8–24, 3–12 Ivy) at the George H.W. Bush ’48 Field at home in New Haven.