Tag Archive: Baseball

  1. BASEBALL: Fall training accompanies remote class for Yale contingent at Cressey Sports in Florida

    Leave a Comment

    Baseball training in Florida is normally an early spring affair for MLB players, but 10 members of Yale’s baseball team have made training in the Sunshine State a fall activity this semester.

    Amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, several members of the Yale baseball team decided to enroll remotely in Florida to pursue high-level training while enrolling in classes at the same time. All 10 of these players are working with Cressey Sports Performance, a training facility that operates specialized fitness centers in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and Hudson, Massachusetts. While not all Bulldog baseball players are in Florida this fall, everyone on the team is enrolled in classes this semester, players said.

    Eric Cressey, who joined the New York Yankees as Director of Player Health and Performance in January, established Cressey Sports Performance in 2007 and remains its president today. 

    “When the sophomores heard that they weren’t going to be able to live on-campus this semester, they were looking for places where they could go and be able to prepare for the season,” pitcher Quinn Cleary ’22 said. “I recommended [Cressey] to them … and they knew Cressey as well because there’s actually a good amount of professional baseball players who are training down here [in Florida], so I’d say it’s a pretty well-known facility.”

    The Yale baseball players are working at Cressey six days a week Monday through Saturday. The Bulldogs schedule their training sessions for the afternoons when they are all done with classes and can carpool together. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are lifting days, while Wednesdays and Saturdays are reserved for movement and agility sessions, according to first-year pitcher Bryant Reese ’24. Both pitchers and batters work under the same general training program with the more minute details tailored specifically to each player’s needs.

    The typical Cressey workout program starts with a diagnostic with one of their trainers. Using the diagnostic as a baseline, director of performance for Cressey’s Florida facility Tim Geromini said, Cressey trainers prepare personalized training and workouts for each of their athletes. The facility has a public-private partnership with the local government that allows athletes to use public baseball fields and facilities right on the same grounds as the gym for live pitching and hitting.

    “The kids [Yale’s 10 baseball players] have been great,” Geromini said. “They show up every day with good energy, they all have good personalities, [and] it’s definitely been fun to work with them. They’ve come in here at a time when they’ve been able to work out with a lot of minor league and pro guys, and it’s a pretty cool mix to see that.”

    Loyal Cressey customers include Mets ace Noah Syndergaard and Nationals’ Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, who currently share facilities with the Bulldog baseball players. Yale players in Florida said they rarely see Scherzer, who works out in the mornings when they are in class, but often see Syndergaard and former White Sox pitcher Steve Cishek in the afternoons.

    Before training in Florida, Cleary had already worked out at the CSP location in Massachusetts in the summer of 2019. During winter break last year, two teammates traveled to Massachusetts to join Yale’s submarine pitcher for extra practice.

    Pitcher Quinn Cleary ’22 (Video: Courtesy of Quinn Cleary)

    When Cleary heard that the sophomores were spending the fall in Florida, he and fellow pitcher Grant Kipp ’22 decided to join them, switching from practicing at CSP in Massachusetts to the sunnier Florida location. In mid-October, after spending the start of the semester with Cleary’s family, they drove from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C. before hopping on an Amtrak that took them from the DMV to just outside Orlando in a little over 17 hours. From there it was a more manageable two-hour drive to their rented house near the Cressey facilities in Palm Beach Gardens.

    Cleary and Kipp were not the only ones to join the sophomore contingent late. Pitcher Clark Klitenic ’23, a sophomore who was able to live on campus this fall as a transfer student from Duke, was the tenth player to arrive at CSP in Florida — he changed his enrollment status to remote after a cluster on the men’s hockey team reverted Yale Athletics to Phase 0 and arrived in Florida on October 18.

    “Having the opportunity to split time between Yale and Florida was ideal,” Klitenic said. “Having the chance to work with [Assistant Strength and Conditioning] coach [Anthony] ‘TJ’ [Belanger] and his incredible staff in the weight room as well as get some time on the field with our coaching staff was integral in my transition to Yale … In that same spirit, the move to Florida made the most sense for me because it gave me the opportunity to join my fellow sophomores and develop a bond with the boys that I will be spending the next few years of my life with.”

    Reese, a 2019 high-school graduate who took a year off because he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is now enrolled remotely and back to baseball.

    He said he is “all-clear health-wise” to start at Yale.

    “Cressey is an awesome place to train and obviously in the context of the pandemic and being rightfully worried about health and safety, it’s hard to get people to Yale and get a consistent schedule for training,” Reese said. “But down here in Cressey, where we’re all living and quarantining together, Cressey happens to be open for athletes — it’s easier and safer to train on a consistent schedule.”

    From left to right, Carter Kessinger ’23, Carson Swank ’23, Jamis DeKay ’23 and AJ Gaich ’23 (Photo: Courtesy of Quinn Cleary)

    Joining Cleary, Kipp, Reese and Klitenic in Florida are sophomores Alex Frey ’23, Michael Walsh ’23, AJ Gaich ’23, Carson Swank ’23, Jamis DeKay ’23 and Carter Kessinger ’23. Although they do not all live together, the group is creating a pandemic-era college experience outside of New Haven, like several other groups of friends at Yale.

    Cleary estimated that about a third of the team is still living in the New Haven area this fall. Additionally, two other players are spending the semester with shortstop Mason LaPlante ’22 in Houston and working at a comparable facility. Despite the differences in geography, the team still stays in touch with weekly Zoom meetings.

    “It’s been great,” said catcher Jake Gehri ’22, who is in New Haven, about training in Yale during Phase I. “It was something that I knew I missed, but I didn’t know how much until I stepped foot in the weight room again. We’re definitely taking a lot of precautions which is very good that all the student-athletes are on board with that and taking these things very seriously.”

    During the pandemic, Gehri has been safely working to improve his game. During the summer, he and Kipp were invited to the Collegiate Summer Baseball Invitational, which aired on ESPN2. The CSBI was an invitation-only tournament that gathered players from over 70 Division I schools and safely bubbled them in Texas with proper testing and social distancing procedures.

    Currently, the players in Florida plan to come back to New Haven for the spring semester in hopes that a season can occur. But with no official announcement yet as to Ivy League athletics in 2021, plans for all Yale ball players are fluid. 

    Seven baseball players from Brown University are also training at Cressey’s Florida facilities this fall, Geromini said.

    Eugenio Garza García | eugenio.garzagarcia@yale.edu

  2. BASEBALL | Elis clinch 12th-inning comeback

    Leave a Comment

    Second baseman Jason Hunter ’14 doubled home shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 to end the game with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning, and the Elis pulled a 5–4 win over Holy Cross on Tuesday night.

    The RBI was Hunter’s second of the game. In the bottom of the fifth, he drove home catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 with another double to cut Yale’s deficit to 3–2. Hunter finished the day 3–for-5 with two doubles and a triple.

    “[Chris Piwinski ’13] told me ‘Win it just like you’re on center court [at Wimbledon]’,” Hunter said. “That was it. He was in my head and I heard him in the dugout yelling ‘Wimbledon!’ ”

    Hunter was not the only player hitting the ball well on Tuesday. The first four Bulldog hitters in the lineup collected ten of Yale’s eleven hits and drove in all five runs. After falling behind 3–0 through three innings, the Elis charged back to regain the lead in the fifth. Outfielder Joe Lubanski ’15 led off the inning with a walk but was sitting on third with two outs when the top of the order came up. Brenner drove him in with a single — the first of four straight Yale hits — and then Fortunato’s two-run double brought Yale into the lead.

    “Ryan, Cale and Jake just had three hits in a row that got us back in the game,” Fortunato said. “I was just trying to get them in.”

    Although the Crusaders (26–18, 11–5 Patriot) tied the game in the top of the sixth, Yale’s pitchers kept the Elis in the game until Hunter ended it with his heroic hit.

    Four Bulldog hurlers combined to throw 9.2 innings while striking out ten and giving up the lone run in the sixth.

    Greg Lyons ’12 took the mound with runners on first and second and only one out with Yale (10–30-1, 2–14 Ivy) down three in the third, but he induced an inning-ending double play that initiated Yale’s defensive dominance.

    Hanson finished the game by switching from short to pitcher and throwing two scoreless frames to earn his second win of the season. Despite pitching in just three games, Hanson is second on the team in wins behind Eric Schultz’s ’12 four.

    “I was just trying not to walk anybody to be honest,” Hanson said. “Every time I go out [to pitch] I’m just kind of winging it.”

    The win ends the Bulldogs’ nonconference schedule on a high note as the team heads into the final weekend of the season. Yale will host a doubleheader against Brown (8–30, 5–11 Ivy) on Saturday before traveling to Providence to end the season with a twin bill against the Bears on Sunday.

  3. BASEBALL | Dartmouth dashes Elis’ hopes

    Leave a Comment

    The saying goes in baseball that there is always next year. That will have to be the case for the Bulldogs, as they were eliminated from contention in the Ivy League by Dartmouth this weekend.

    Yale (9–30–1, 2–14 Ivy) was swept by Dartmouth (17–15, 11–5 Ivy) in Hanover. After two one-run losses in the doubleheader on Friday, the Elis fell seven games behind the Big Green in the Red Rolfe division with just six Ancient Eight contests remaining. Dartmouth then swept the twin bill on Saturday for emphasis.

    In what has been a familiar theme all season, Yale was close to Dartmouth in every game. Three of the four contests were decided by two runs or less — Yale is 5–17 in such games on the season.

    “We are much, much better than our record shows,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said. “It’s a good learning point for us going into the next season … We’re going to have to learn how to win close games.”

    In the first game of the series on Friday Yale took an early 1–0 lead when first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 homered in the top of the second inning. Dartmouth rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth, however, to erase Yale’s lead.

    Although Yale knotted the game at three all on a two-run single by Fortunato, the Big Green went on top for good with a two-out single by centerfielder Jake Carlson.

    Fortunato continued to stay hot in the second game, driving in two with a double in the first, but Dartmouth led 4–2 after two innings.

    Yale chipped away at the lead with a run-scoring groundout by designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 in the fourth before outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 tied it with an RBI double in the sixth.

    The score remained tied until Big Green first baseman Dustin Selzer hit a walk–off single in the bottom of the 12th to give Dartmouth a 5–4 win and end Yale’s postseason hopes.

    “For whatever reason we haven’t been able to come up with the big hit this year,” catcher Ryan Brenner ’12. “I’m really proud of the guys. It’s not because [they] didn’t try.”

    With nothing but pride to play for in Saturday’s doubleheader, the Bulldogs did not go down without a fight.

    Yale starter Pat Ludwig ’12 struck out six and gave up just five hits over six innings. Ludwig was tagged for a two-run home run by Selzer though, which would prove more than enough run support for Dartmouth hurler Kyle Hunter.

    Hunter threw a seven-inning complete game shutout to notch his second win on the season.

    Despite taking a one-run lead in the top of the first in the final game of the series, the Bulldogs were outslugged by the Big Green 8–4 in the final game of the series.

    “The seniors have pretty much said to learn from this experience,” pitcher Eric Hsieh ’15 said. “To remember what it feels like when you’re losing … to learn from it and never let it happen again.”

    Although hopes of an Ivy League crown were put to rest this weekend, Yale’s season is not over. The team wants to end the season on a winning streak to send out the class of 2012 and set the tone for next season, Hanson and Hsieh said.

    Yale will travel to Holy Cross tomorrow for a weekday game against the Crusaders.

  4. BASEBALL | Yale takes swing at Big Green

    Leave a Comment

    The baseball team is travelling north to face its biggest rival, but it is not going to Cambridge.

    The Elis (9-26-1, 2-10 Ivy) head up to Dartmouth (13-15, 7-5 Ivy) for a four-game series beginning today.

    “Everyone sees Harvard as our big rival,” designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 said. “But in terms of baseball, it’s Dartmouth.”

    The Big Green currently sits atop the Red Rolfe division of the Ivy League with a five-game lead over the Elis. The winner of the Red Rolfe division will face the winner of the Lou Gehrig division in a three-game series in May to determine the Ivy League champion. Catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 and outfielder David Toups ’15 said that although sweeping Dartmouth would be ideal, the team has to take the weekend one game at a time.

    Along with battling for the Ancient Eight crown this year, the rivalry has taken on added meaning in recent years, as Dartmouth swept Yale in New Hampshire two years ago before the Bulldogs returned the favor in New Haven last year, players said.

    “Last year we swept them, so they’ll be gunning for us,” Toups said. “Having a team gunning for you makes you play harder.”

    Dartmouth has had the edge over Yale in the rivalry recently, winning the Rolfe division each of the last four years.

    Brenner said that one reason for the Big Green’s success is its ability to throw strikes. Dartmouth has given out the fewest free passes in the Ivy League and is tied with the College of Charleston for 14th in the nation by allowing just 2.56 walks per game.

    “[Dartmouth’s] pitchers are really good about throwing strikes,” Brenner said. “They are going to make us beat them… they just fill the strike zone.”

    Although the Bulldogs have been struggling at the plate all season, the slump appears to being ending. The Elis have scored an average of 4.8 runs over their past five games and won three of those contests.

    Starter Nolan Becker ’13 added that Yale’s struggles could actually be its secret weapon.

    “They’re going to look at our stats and not expect us to hit,” Becker said.

    More than just the Dartmouth baseball team stands to challenge the Elis in Hanover this weekend. The forecast is for rain at Dartmouth, according to the National Weather Service. As a result of the inclement weather, the games have been moved up by a day.

    Mother Nature will be accompanied by support from the Dartmouth student body, Brenner said.

    “When we go up to their place, their fans are crazy,” Scharff said.

    First pitch is scheduled for noon both Friday and Saturday.

  5. BASEBALL | Elis get revenge at Yale Field

    Leave a Comment

    All season, the Elis have been looking for games where they put all aspects of the game together at once, and yesterday’s game proved to be just that.

    Yale got strong performances from two freshman pitchers and nine hits to sink Sacred Heart University 7-4 at Yale Field on Tuesday, continuing its winning streak.

    “All four pitchers were great, but it was special that the freshmen pitchers, Eric Hsieh ’15 and Ben Joseph ’15, stepped up,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said.

    The win not only got back at the Pioneers for the loss Yale suffered against them two weeks ago, but also marked the first time the Elis (9-26-1, 2-10 Ivy) won back-to-back games since March 23-24 against Hartford.

    “We have met the Pioneers before, and we were falling behind in the beginning, but it turned out to be a good game with high energy,” Hanson said.

    Although it was not an Ivy League match, eager fans showed up at Yale Field to help support the local rivalry.

    “The fans in the right field were really our fighting factors,” pitcher Michael Coleman ’14 said.

    However, Yale did not start off on the right foot.

    After giving away one run in the first inning, the Elis slipped again in the second by allowing another two runs.

    But in the third inning, the Bulldogs began a dramatic comeback.

    Dave Boisture could not get the third out in the third inning pitching for Sacred Heart (11-24, 7-5 NEC) and gave up four runs before getting pulled. The big blow came off the bat of second baseman Jacob Hunter ’14, who drove in Hanson with a two-run home run to left-centerfield. Hanson had just extended his Ivy League-best on-base streak to 34 games with a double before Hunter’s blast.

    With the score narrowed to 4-2 in Sacred Heart’s favor, designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 hit a two-run triple to even the score.

    The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Hanson and a sacrifice fly by Hunter.

    The rest of the game belonged to Yale hurler Joseph, who struck out six Pioneers while letting just one runner reach base.

    “It was good to be back and help the team win despite my arm troubles,” Joseph said.

    Joseph earned his first collegiate victory since he was the Bulldogs’ pitcher when the game became official in the fifth inning.

    Southpaw Hsieh gave up three earned runs over four innings, but kept the Elis in the game and left with a 6-4 lead heading into the fifth inning.

    Pitcher Chris O’Hare ’13 tossed a scoreless eighth and Greg Lyons ’12 earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

    Coleman said yesterday’s match had fantastic hitting with consistent pitching.

    The Bulldogs will return to Ivy League competition this weekend, this time taking on the Dartmouth (12-15, 7-5 Ivy) for a pair of doubleheaders.

    Joseph said all the team wants is to sweep its opponents.

    The upcoming matches will be an opportunity for Yale to grab third place in the conference standings. Yale is currently in fourth place, but Harvard and Brown, who hold the second and third places respectively, will face each other this weekend.

    “Dartmouth is in first place whereas we are on the bottom,” Hanson said. “We have nothing to lose but everything to gain.”

  6. BASEBALL | Elis salvage split with Crimson

    Leave a Comment

    The Yale-Harvard rivalry lived up to its billing this weekend with four games decided by a total of five runs as Yale earned a split of its series with Harvard.

    In the first game of the series Yale (8–26–1, 2–10 Ivy) finally broke its 12-game losing streak with a 3–2 eight-inning walk-off victory, but Harvard (8–25, 4–8 Ivy) forced a split of the Saturday doubleheader by holding off the Elis 7–6 in nine innings.

    “The split was good for us,” outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 said. “It was fun weekend. [It was] a combo of close games and our biggest rival.”

    Pitcher Chris O’Hare ’13 held the Crimson to one earned run in seven innings of work to force extra innings. He did allow Harvard to take a one-run lead in the top of the seventh, but Neil tied the game with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. After Eric Schultz ’13 pitched a scoreless eighth, outfielder Joe Lubanski ’15 led off the bottom of the inning with a triple and scored the winning run on second baseman Jacob Hunter’s ’14 sacrifice fly.

    The momentum did not carry into the second game for the Blue and White, as the Crimson blotted out Yale’s short-lived winning streak by scoring seven runs in the first five innings. The Bulldogs stormed back with a four-run sixth inning to pull within one but would get no closer.

    Yale took a 3–0 lead in the first game of Sunday’s twin billing but was unable to hold on as the Cantabs stole the game in eight innings 4–3.

    Cantab starter Matt Timoney lasted just two-thirds of an inning before the Elis knocked him out of the game. Reliever Baron Davis shut down Yale’s bats for 4.2 innings, allowing Harvard to tie the game with three runs off Pat Ludwig ’12 in the sixth.

    Harvard took the lead in extra innings when Hunter’s two-out error allowed second baseman Jeff Reynolds to score with the decisive run.

    Ludwig took his fourth loss of the season despite striking out eight over as many innings and allowing just two earned runs.

    “Pat [Ludwig] is going to get drafted at the end of the year,” first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 said. “[Our starting pitchers] are the best in the league … We have four number ones on our team.”

    Hunter made up for his miscue in the second game with a double to lead off the bottom of the eighth that sparked Yale’s two-run rally. Fortunato plated Hunter with a double of his own.

    “It was pretty funny actually,” Fortunato said. “I went up to Jake [Hunter] and said to him ‘How do you want to do this?’ and he said, ‘Back-to-back doubles.’ It’s funny that it actually happened that way.”

    Fortunato came around to score himself on a sacrifice bunt by Neil. The RBI was Neil’s seventh on the weekend. He drove in at least one run in all four games against the Cantabs.

    As he has been all season, shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 continued to stay hot this weekend. He hit .438 (7–16) for the series as he extended his Ivy League-leading on-base streak to 33 consecutive games.

    The Bulldogs are now five games out of first place in the Red Rolfe division of the Ivy League. Dartmouth (12–15, 7–5 Ivy) took three of four against Brown (7–24, 4–8 Ivy).

    Yale will be at home tomorrow against Sacred Heart (11–23, 7–5 Northeast Conference) for a nine-inning game.

  7. BASEBALL | Elis falter late vs. Stags

    Leave a Comment

    The Bulldogs held the lead in both games Wednesday, but they lost both of them before the final out was made.

    Yale fell to Fairfield University 4–3 and 8–4 in a pair of seven-inning contests at Yale Field yesterday afternoon.

    “We just couldn’t put a whole game together today,” pitcher Chris O’Hare ’13 said. “We need to play a lot better when it’s winning time.”

    In the first game the Elis (6–24–1, 0–8 Ivy) jumped out to a 3–0 lead after two innings thanks to three hits and two walks. Catcher Ryan Brenner ’12 led off the bottom of the first with a double and then came around to score on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Cale Hanson ’14. Yale tacked on two more in the second after a double off the bat of designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 scored Jacob Hunter ’14. Scharff would score the third run himself when Brenner hit a sacrifice fly to left field.

    But the wheels came off for the Elis in the top of the third. After striking out the side in the second inning, lefthander Eric Hsieh ’15 appeared to have a 1–2–3 third inning, but Hanson overthrew the first baseman. The Stags (14–19, 3–6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) took advantage of the extra out and scored two runs in the inning.

    “I did a lot better than in past outings,” Hsieh said. “[But] I have to be better at settling down [after an error] … I left a few balls up in the zone.”

    Fairfield took the lead in the top of the fifth inning, and despite a Yale hit in each of the final three frames, the Stags held onto the lead.

    In the second half of the doubleheader, the Elis fell down 3–0 early but managed to retake the lead 4–3 in the bottom of the fourth. Yale tied the game at three-all in the bottom of the third on a two-run double by Brenner and an RBI single by first baseman and pitcher Kevin Fortunato ’14. The Blue and White took the lead on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Chris Piwinski ’13.

    The lead was transient for the Bulldogs, as the Stags scored five runs in the final two innings to steal the game.

    Unlike in previous games, hitting was not a problem for Yale, and the Bulldogs collected 16 hits during the twin bill.

    “This weekend and today we hit a lot of balls hard but right at people,” Fortunato said. “That’s something that doesn’t show up in the box score … [And] that’s the thing about baseball. Even when you do everything right, you can still fail.”

    The Elis will be staying at home this weekend as they place host to the archrival Harvard Crimson (6–23, 2–6 Ivy) at Yale Field.

  8. Hanson looking forward to Ivy Championship

    Leave a Comment

    After the Ivy games against Princeton and Cornell over the weekend, the Yale baseball team is now more than halfway through its season with only 16 games remaining. Despite some tough losses, shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 has been a huge asset to the team, reahing based in the past 27 consecutive games. The News sat down with Hanson and talked about the state of the team.

    Q What did you think about the matches over the weekend?

    A It was a big improvement from week one, but we are still having trouble scoring.

    Q How is the atmosphere on the team? And how do practices work?

    A We go to stadium every day and practice about four hours per day. We focus on team defense in the first half, and then in [the] second half, offense. We are still positive, though we are not playing well. We still trust each other and have high hopes.

    Q How is it to be a shortstop for the Bulldogs? Why did you choose that position?

    A I was recruited to play any position. I was an outfielder freshman year, and this year I got a chance to play as a shortstop. I like infield better since I played [there] in high school.

    Q When did you start playing baseball?

    A Very young, when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I have not stopped. I played other sports when I was young, but my favorite is baseball.

    Q What is the best thing about playing baseball at Yale?

    A History. George H. W. Bush ’48 was once the captain. Babe Ruth has played here. And most importantly, we have great coaches.

    Q Tell me about your most memorable match or moment.

    A Last season, we swept Dartmouth, which was a defending champion back then. It was awesome. We were in the last place and jumped to first place. Personally, Dartmouth is my least favorite.

    Q Who was the toughest to play against?

    A Besides Dartmouth, I would say Princeton.

    Q How is your relationship with the coach?

    A We have two coaches and two volunteer coaches, and I love them all. We are having a tough season, but they are really positive.

    Q Was there a time that you could not play because you were injured? How did you feel?

    A Not at Yale. I have started every game here. It is really bad to be injured, since you cannot help your team.

    Q Any plans on continuing baseball after graduation? The Major Leagues, maybe?

    A I hope so. Everyone in our team wants to play at the next level. My ideal place to play would be professional baseball at some level.

    Q Going back to the season, what do you think is challenging the team’s performance?

    A Baseball is a weird sport. When things are going good, hitting the ball well, baseball is easy. At the beginning of the season, we had a few injuries — just pitchers cannot score runs, and we were on a losing streak. We had a lot of hits, but could not score runs. But we are going to keep our heads high.

    Q What would be a practical goal right now for the team? What can Bulldogs fans look forward to?

    A We have 12 Ivy League games left. It might sound crazy, but we are not out of it, and one big swing can change everything. The fans should watch for the Ivy Championship.

    Q Who do you look up to, a possible role model?

    A Derek Jeter, definitely. He is unbelievable. And Craig Biggio.

    Q What’s your favorite baseball team?

    A The Houston Astros.

    Q Harvard is coming next weekend. Any comment on that?

    A Yes, Harvard is coming up, and that will be the chance to turn the season around, starting with the Crimson. We are not happy right now, but we are still trying so we are not worried. We need more lucky breaks and then will be fine.

  9. BASEBALL | No holiday luck for Elis

    1 Comment

    Over the holiday weekend, the baseball team took to the field in two doubleheaders against Princeton and Cornell. But the Bulldogs were not able to celebrate the holidays with a win.

    Yale (6–22–1) is now 0–8 in conference play. In Game 1 of the doubleheader against Princeton, Yale was tied going into the bottom of the sixth when Chris Piwinski ’13 was thrown out at the plate trying to give the Bulldogs the lead. In the following inning, Princeton took the lead and never looked back after starting pitcher Chris O’Hares ’13 hit a Cornell player with the bases loaded.

    “Talk about a momentum changer,” catcher and firstbaseman Robert Baldwin ’15 said. “The umpire calls him out at home, and they go on to win the game in the next inning. It was rough.”

    Game two featured fantastic pitching by Connecticut native David Hickey ’13 and Nolan Becker ’13. Hickey gave up two runs in the second inning, and Becker followed him up with five shutout innings. The strong pitching efforts was not enough to defeat the Tigers, as Princeton pitchers held the Bulldogs to just one run on a sacrifice fly by captain Ryan Brenner ’12 in the fifth.

    Whereas previously, the Elis have struggled getting base hits, Yale outhit Princeton 18–13 for the doubleheader on Saturday.

    On Sunday, Game 1 against Cornell proved hardest to swallow for the Bulldogs and their fans.

    With only one out needed to secure the Elis’ first conference win, head coach John Stuper decided to pull starter Pat Ludwig ’12 in favor of starting first basemen and closer Kevin Fortunato ’14.

    “It’s always nice to finish the game,” Ludwig said, “but I trust Fortunato more than anyone.”

    Unforunately it wasn’t Fortunato’s day. Cornell’s cleanup hitter Chris Cruz stepped up to the plate and blasted a game winning homerun over the fence in right field.

    Trying to put Game 1 behind them, the Elis took to the field and battled hard in the second game to tally six runs on 12 hits. Taking the lead into the sixth, the Bulldogs surrendered a game-tying homerun and could never quite get back over the hump.

    Once again, stellar pitching characterized the game. Starter Rob Cerfolio ’14 and reliever Eric Shultz ’12 combined for nine innings, seven strikeouts and only two earned runs.

    But not all was lost on the weekend. Many players look to be finally breaking out of hitting slumps as Fortunato, Brenner and Piwinski went 5-for-14, 7-for-12 and 5-for-13 respectively.

    Also, shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 continued his on base streak through all four games. The streak now stands at 27 games, as Hanson went 4-for-15 with two walks on the weekend.

    The Bulldogs are back at Yale Field on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. for a doubleheader against Fairfield.

  10. BASEBALL | Elis head for home

    Leave a Comment

    The baseball team is hoping that there is no place like home as it tries to solve its recent woes.

    Having played all but four of their first 25 contests away from the friendly confines of Yale Field, the Elis will begin an 11-game home stand this weekend. Princeton (9–11, 3–1 Ivy) will travel up the coast for a twinbill tomorrow. Cornell (17–6–1, 3–1 Ivy) will follow up by joining Yale for a doubleheader on Sunday.

    “This weekend is huge for us,” captain and backstop Ryan Brenner ’12 said. “When we underperformed [last] weekend, so did the rest of our [division].”

    Yale is a member of the Red Rolfe division — named for the Dartmouth graduate and former New York Yankees third baseman — which also includes Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown. All three of these teams have had trouble breaking into the win column. The three teams went a combined 4–8 in Ancient Eight ball last weekend. None of them has more than four Ivy wins this season.

    The fact that the Tigers and the Big Red are in the other division — named for another former Yankee and Columbia first baseman Lou Gehrig — does not change the meaning of the games this weekend.

    “The Ivy League season is so short,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said. “Every Ivy League game is important. We are trying to win every Ivy League game we can.”

    While the Elis are hitting just .224 as a team, Hanson is the lone Bulldog whose hits are falling in. Hanson owns an average of .378, .111 higher than the next-best Eli.

    Chris Piwinski ’13 and Brenner attributed part of Hanson’s success to his consistency in his approach at the plate.

    Hanson said that the teams’ struggles are more important to him than his own success, though.

    “I’m actually not having a good time because my teammates are having a rough go with it,” Hanson said. “I’m catching all the lucky breaks.”

    This weekend would be a good time for the lucky breaks to start falling the Bulldogs’ way, as they will be playing host to two teams that can tear the cover off the ball. Princeton is hitting .285 with 16 home runs. Cornell’s average is even higher at .308 to complement 15 homers.

    In addition to the Big Red offense, the Elis will have to deal with a Cornell pitching staff that setting the pace for the Ancient Eight with a 3.32 earned run average (ERA).

    Despite the significance of the weekend, Piwinski suggested that the Elis should remain calm.

    “It does no good to add more pressure,” Piwinski said. “Then you don’t play loose.”

    First pitch tomorrow against Princeton and Sunday against Cornell is at noon.

  11. BASEBALL | Pioneers walk away with win

    Leave a Comment

    The baseball team put together a solid all-around performance in the last eight innings against Sacred Heart University yesterday, but they could not overcome a rough first inning.

    The Pioneers (10–16, 6–2 Northeast Conference) put up four runs in the bottom of the first inning as they won 6–3 to defend their home field against the Elis (6–18–1, 0–4 Ivy).

    “The pitchers and our team as a whole were especially resilient today,” catcher and captain Ryan Brenner ’12 said. “That’s the sign of a great team — the ability to come back against adversity.”

    Lefthander Ben Joseph ’15, making his first appearance since the second game of the season, was unable to get an out in the first inning before head coach John Stuper replaced him with Nolan Becker ’13. Joseph led off the inning by hitting the first two batters and then surrendered an RBI double to Sacred Heart shortstop John Murphy. He walked the next two batters, forcing in another run, before Becker relieved him.

    Becker struck out his first two opponents, and Yale appeared to be on its way out of the jam, down only 2–0, when Becker walked right fielder Zach Grandee with a full count and then walked third baseman Billy McDonough to give the Pioneers a 4–0 advantage after one frame.

    The Elis threatened several times before finally getting on the scoreboard thanks to designated hitter Josh Scharff’s ’13 solo blast to lead off the fourth inning.

    “Scharff has always been one of our best hitters, and that was a shot,” shortstop Cale Hanson ’14 said. “It definitely gave us a jolt.”

    Hanson hit a two-out single in the top of the first and advanced to second when Brenner walked, but they were stranded on base. Right fielder Joe Lubanski ’15 started another two-out rally in the second with a single to center, but he was forced out at second.

    Yale’s greatest threat came with yet another two-out hit — a double by Hanson — and it seemed that he would score when Brenner socked a single through the left side of the infield. Instead Hanson was gunned down at the plate by Pioneer left fielder Matt Charmello.

    The shot to center by Scharff made the score 6–1 in the fourth, as Sacred Heart had added two runs off of Becker in the bottom of the third. Southpaw Eric Hsieh ’15 then entered in the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings to keep Yale within striking distance.

    The Elis began chipping away at the lead again with two runs in the top of the sixth. After walks to outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 and first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 to start the frame, center fielder Cam Squires ’13 drove home a run with a grounder to first. Third baseman Chris Piwinski ’13 drove the second run with a single, but that was the extent of the scoring in the inning and in the game.

    Hurlers Chris O’Hare ’13 and Eric Schultz ’13 kept Sacred Heart off of the board, but the Pioneer pitching staff did the same to Yale.

    Although yesterday was one of the better days this season for Yale’s hitters, it was just another day at the park for Hanson. Hanson went 3–4 with a walk to raise his team high average to .378.

    “[Hanson] is a great guy to feed off of,” Piwinski said. “You’re just confident that every time he gets up [to the plate] that he’s going to get a hit.”

    The Bulldogs will try and take the momentum from this game into Ivy League play this weekend, when they host Princeton (9–11, 3–1 Ivy) for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 7.